Portland Port has been steadily growing over several years while making the necessary investments to future proof the port. The latest asset for Portland Harbour Authority is a new multi-million-pound tug.
After some consideration, the port decided to name the new tug in memory of the late Commander ‘Rupert Best’ who sadly died in February.
Rupert was instrumental in persuading Langham Industries to buy the port from the MOD in 1996 and worked tirelessly to help it grow over 25 years. An official naming ceremony will take place when it is safe to do so.
Chief Executive Officer Bill Reeves said: ‘The port is lucky to have owners that consistently invest in the port’s infrastructure and assets, from berth extensions and dredging programmes to our newest tug.
‘The tug is a great addition to the port’s services and operations. We hope that in naming it the ‘Rupert Best’, it will be a fitting memorial for someone who spent many years at sea with the Royal Navy and played such a pivotal role at the port.’
Rupert Best joins the port’s fleet of tugs which includes Maiden Castle, Rufus Castle and Wyke Castle, with the latter currently being up for sale.
The tug was built in Turkey to a Robert Allen design, the Sanmar Sirapinar class ‘RAmparts 2200’ azimuth stern drive tug will increase and help support the port’s ability to welcome larger vessels.
Completed in 2019, the new tug has a bollard pull of 50t and her two Caterpillar engines deliver a total of 3000 kw.
Harbour Master and General Manager – Marine, Captain Mike Shipley, commented that: ‘we have been planning this purchase for a while, so it was a great day when she arrived in the port. The Rupert Best will greatly enhance the port’s towage capability and means we are now able to offer three tugs each with a bollard pull of over 50t.’
Senior Tug Master, Andy Straw enthused over the new arrival: ‘We are absolutely delighted with her. She is very responsive and precise. With an LOA of 22.4 metres, she looks very compact.
‘However, there is more space to her than it appears from the outside. She is well kitted-out both internally and externally and is a very capable tug. She is strong, highly manoeuvrable, and a welcome addition to our fleet of tugs.’
Rupert Best will be undergoing crew familiarisation of systems and safety equipment as well as crew training prior to engaging in her first ship assist tow.