A new £4m tug boat, which is to be Christened the ‘Strathfoyle,’ is currently sailing up the Yangtze to Shanghai, from where it will be transported to the Netherlands, and eventually to Derry, next year.
The new boat is being billed as a significant investment by Foyle Port and will be used to tow very large vessels in and out of its Lisahally terminal.
The new boat, a Damen ASD 2310 vessel, will work alongside the Port’s existing ASD tug, ‘Shrove,’ and replace another tug, the ‘Culmore,’ which will be kept in reserve for use when either of the other tugs is in dry-dock for servicing.
George Cuthbert, Engineering and Development Director at Foyle Port, said: “The new state of the art tug ‘Strathfoyle’ along with its sister tug ‘Shrove’ will ensure Foyle Port offers the safest, most efficient, manoeuvrable and powerful towage service for the very large vessels that berth at the Lisahally terminal.
“This significant £4m investment demonstrates Foyle Port’s continued commitment to our customers and facilitates further regional growth across the North West.”
The new tug is being built by Dutch shipbuilder, The Damen Group, which specialises in tugs, workboats and patrol vessels.
Damen was selected to supply the vessel following an open European public tender process. Twenty-three metres in length it has a maximum bollard pull of 50 tonnes.
It will be the most powerful vessel in the four-strong Foyle Port tug fleet. The tug will be used to bring large cargo ships in to dock at Lisahally.
It was built at Damen’s shipyard in Changde and is currently in transport in China.
In Foyle Port’s recently published annual accounts, Chief Executive Brian McGrath, looked forward to taking delivery of the new boat next year.
He stated: “We keenly anticipate the delivery in 2016 of our new build Damen tug which was supported through a loan from the Department for Infrastructure.
“This significant investment of c.£4 million demonstrates the long term commitment by the Commissioners in the future of Lisahally as the North West regional gateway.
“This vessel will play a major role for years to come as a core piece of marine infrastructure.”
Chairman Bonnie Anlee concurred: “A statutory duty of Londonderry Port and Harbour Commissioners is to reinvest our profits into the organisation for the benefit of future generations of stakeholders.
“During 2015/16 Londonderry Port and Harbour Commissioners invested £1.9 million in port assets and infrastructure including the first payment for our new harbour tug. Foyle Marine Services will take delivery of the new tug during 2016/17 representing a total investment by the Commissioners of £4 million.
“The new tug will safeguard the marine operations of the Port well into the future and will also provide an emergency towage facility beyond the coast of Lough Foyle.”