Transnet plough tug takes shape

2018-01-31 06:01
< From left are, Phyllis Difeto (TNPA’s Chief Operating Officer), Carl Gabriel (TNPA’s dredging services Executive Manager), Taneal Crocker (Tide Marine Shipyard’s Director and Head of Supplier Development), Fabian Crocker (Tide Marine Shipyard’s General Manager) and Hamilton Nxumalo (TNPA’s General Manager of Infrastructure and Port Planning).               Photo:SUPPLIED

< From left are, Phyllis Difeto (TNPA’s Chief Operating Officer), Carl Gabriel (TNPA’s dredging services Executive Manager), Taneal Crocker (Tide Marine Shipyard’s Director and Head of Supplier Development), Fabian Crocker (Tide Marine Shipyard’s General Manager) and Hamilton Nxumalo (TNPA’s General Manager of Infrastructure and Port Planning). Photo:SUPPLIED

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CONSTRUCTION of Transnet National Ports Authority’s (TNPA) new bed leveller (plough tug) is now underway and was marked by an official keel laying ceremony last week.

Delivering the keynote address at the ceremony, TNPA General Manager of Infrastructure and Port Planning Hamilton Nxumalo said the new vessel is the first of its kind to be built for the TNPA in South Africa.

“As Transnet it gives us great pride that we are able to promote radical economic transformation, localisation and supplier development through such procurement programmes.

“Catering for larger commercial vessels in our ports requires a world-class dredging and marine fleet and South African shipbuilders continue to demonstrate their expertise in producing vessels that can compete with the global industry,” Nxumalo said.

Executive Manager for TNPA’s dredging services, Carl Gabriel, said the plough tug is the latest acquisition in Dredging Services’ R2 billion plus fleet renewal programme, which has already seen delivery of some of the continent’s most powerful dredging vessels in recent years.

“The plough tug is used as a bed leveller, smoothing out high spots created by marine traffic in the high-volume berth areas. This is a critical activity in keeping the ports’ berths to their promulgated depths,” Gabriel described.

General manager of the Tide Marine Shipyard Fabian Crocker said the project will go a long way towards revitalising Nelson Mandela Bay’s boatbuilding sector.

He described that all the steel, around 200 tons, to be used in the project will be sourced from within South Africa. “We will be creating up to 30 jobs in technical fields, such as engineering, boilermaking and welding.

“We will also be upskilling local marine engineering students with on-site experience so that learnings from this project can continue to serve the industry even long after completion,” Crocker said.

The as yet unnamed vessel is expected to be handed over to TNPA Dredging Services by October. It will feature the latest technology and will be able to sail from port to port, which is an added advantage over the old vessel it replaces.

In the next few months, the plough tug will be relocated from the contractor’s workshop to the port’s recently upgraded 40-ton slipway and boat hoist in the Yacht Club precinct, where its accommodation and final fittings will be added.

Port Elizabeth port manager Rajesh Dana said the plough tug project bodes well for the port, which is being developed into a thriving boatbuilding and repair hub to support the fishing industry and recreational craft.

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