Despite COVID-19 and related travel restrictions mid-August saw another milestone towards the modernisation and renewal of the Orkney Island Council (OIC) tug fleet that provides towage and marine services in Scapa Flow, Orkney.
OIC’s technical consultant, Peter Reid, approved technical acceptance of the two (2) new state of the art escort tugs onsite at Sanmar Shipyards Altinova facility, Turkey. Early September will see the tugs, Odin of Scapa and Thor of Scapa, depart for their new home at Scapa Flow in Orkney. Sanmar’s own crews will carry out the maiden voyages of both tugs.
Both tugs incorporate some specific features for Orkney’s conditions and operations. RAstar tugs are typically high-powered, intended for demanding escort operations in exposed areas such as open water terminal operations where a high standard of seakeeping is required; such as those presented in Scapa Flow.
They are shallower draft than typically seen in tugs of this size, due to depth limitations on some piers in Scapa Flow. Despite a shallower draft, the RAstar 3200SX gives nothing away in escort performance. Escort forces are enhanced by the effects of the sponsons as well as by the prominent foil-shaped escort skeg forward. Roll motions and accelerations are less than half those of comparable sized “standard” wall-sided tug hulls. They incorporate full fire-fighting capability. Forward and aft winches provide enhanced capability over the current tugs, further improving operational safety as well as increasing the operational flexibility available to the Harbour Authority.
Whilst OIC and specifically Orkney Island Council Marine Services, as well as Sanmar Shipyards, are both delighted to have reached this milestone, physical delivery in Orkney is an exciting prospect ahead. We wish the crew bon voyage and safe sailing to Orkney in the coming weeks and look forward to seeing the tugs fully operational in due course.