The Kenya Ports Authority has acquired a new the KShs.1.1 billion state of the art tugboat to boost efficiency at the crucial marine operations.
The new 75 Bollard Pull (BP) tugboat is the first of its kind in East and Central Africa and will be instrumental in undertaking marine operations including berthing and un-berthing of ships.
She becomes the largest tug in a fleet of five.
Christened EUGENE, Azimuth Stern Driven (ASD) tug arrived at the Port of Mombasa on Monday after a 26-day’s journey from the Cheoy Lee Shipbuilders in China.
The vessel is named after the late Capt. EUGENE OKOTH, who passed on whilst performing pilotage duties on board an inbound vessel (car carrier) on a 3rd Shift at 0100hrs in April 2016.
Celebrating the tugboat’s safe voyage to the Port of Mombasa, the General Manager Human Resources and administration Dr. Amani Komora stressed the need for employees to focus on productivity even as the Authority keeps its promise of modernizing equipment.
“We have delivered a tug that is superior to the previous ones, because we want to improve on quality,” he said.
He promised the marine engineers and other technical staff of support in the necessary training program to keep them abreast with the ever changing technology to ensure the equipment remain well manned.
Dock Workers Union Secretary General Simon Sang applauded KPA for the equipment acquisition, urging the management to ensure that the unionisable staff get adequate training opportunities to sharpen their skills.
The tug is fitted with the most advanced and powerful caterpillar “E” series engines and has a length overall (LOA) of 32 meters compared to the other four “D” series ASD tugboats which have a length overall of 30 meters and a Bollard Pull of 58.
The acquisition of this tug now guarantees two to three simultaneous vessel movement at any given time.
This translates to optimal availability of four at all times as compared to current situation of three whenever one tug is out of service due to planned maintenance or breakdown.
Currently 90 per cent of vessels calling at port of Mombasa are post Panamax, which require at least two tugs for berthing and unberthing operations.
The tugboat will also effectively provide fire suppression at sea, maritime pollution control and berthing.
Additionally, it will have the capability to execute tug services within and outside the harbor.
KPA’s General Manager Engineering Services, Engineer Rashid Salim, said the new tug would come in handy in allowing smooth operations at the seaside especially when one of the tugs is out of station for routine maintenance and repair.
He added that other marine services mega projects lined up include the acquisition of a pilot boat worth Sh. 600 million to be deployed to Lamu Port.
This is in preparation for the start of operations in Lamu Port, which is set to start next year when the first berth will be ready.
Meanwhile, regular caller Mv. Evergreen Dynamic has set a new record performance in the container handling operations.
The container ship that docked at berth No.17 set a new Shift Record of 1428 gross moves during the second shift on Sunday.
The record beats the previous record of 1204 gross moves registered by MV Livorno.
According to the Head of Container Operations Mr Edward Opiyo, the vessel also broke the 24 Hour stevedoring record held by Mv. Livorno and Kota Lambai respectively.
Evergreen Dynamic also registered an average of 290 gross moves per hour to beat Kota Lambadi’s recent record of 286 gross moves per hour translating to 2320TEUs in 24hours.
Kota Lambadi in her previous record managed 2285 TEUs in 24 hours.
The Panama flagged vessel has a length overall of 294.15 m, a breadth of 32.22m, deadweight of 55515 tonnes, gross tonnage of 52090 and a draught of 11.8m.
Mr. Opiyo attributed the improved performance to good yard management, improved availability and maintenance of both shore and offshore equipment, enhanced staff morale through management recognition of performance and proper traffic management.