Suez contract extension prompts Svitzer tug order

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Cheoy Lee Shipyard will supply two new harbour tugs to Svitzer to support ships in Port Suez, Egypt

Svitzer said it made its expansion plans for the fleet of tugs operating in Egypt after securing a contract extension with the Suez Canal Authority (SCA).

Copenhagen, Denmark-headquartered Svitzer has provided towage services in the Suez Canal since Q4 2019.

“SCA awarded Svitzer an extension of the existing contract. It is testament of our trusted relationship and much valued collaboration with the SCA,” Svitzer managing director for Africa, Middle East and Asia (AMEA) Nicolai Vinther Friis. The Maersk subsidiary has two tugs, Svitzer Port Said 1 and Svitzer Port Said 2, operating out of Port Said by the Mediterranean Sea entrance to the canal.

The tugs were part of a flotilla of vessels that assisted SCA refloat grounded container ship, Ever Given, when it blocked the Suez Canal in March 2021

The two new tugs that will join Svitzer’s fleet in Egypt will have bollard pulls of more than 70 tonnes and are scheduled to be ready to start operations in Q4 2021, according to the agreement between Svitzer and Cheoy Lee Shipyard. The vessels will be stationed in Port Suez by the Red Sea entrance to the canal.

Mr Friis said he expects the two new tugs will be important additions to the existing fleet in these regions, saying they will enhance ship assistance in Port Suez and provide much-needed towage services as the volume of world trade and number of vessels passing through the Suez Canal continue to increase.

“The Suez Canal is the world’s most important global trade artery,” he said.

“At Svitzer, we are proud to support the SCA in their vision to render a distinguished and an uninterrupted service to vessels that transit the Suez Canal, thus ensuring efficient global supply chains,” Mr Friis continued.

Svitzer operates a fleet of more than 85 vessels in seven ports and 11 terminals across 12 countries in AMEA. The two new tugs will be manned by all-Egyptian crews and managed in Egypt.

Choey Lee supplies tugs of various types to designs by Canadian naval architects Robert Allan Ltd and subcontracts building some of the tugs to shipyards in China.

According to BRL Shipping Consultants, Choey Lee has requested construction of two more harbour tugs with Wärtsilä main engines from Hin Lee Shipyard in China.

These 42-m long tugs will have beam of 16 m and depth of 6.6 m. They are scheduled for delivery in Q2 and Q3 2023.

(Source: Riviera by Martyn Wingrove)