In line with maritime tradition, the ceremonial duty of christening the vessel was carried out by Lady Sponsor, Judith Nzimande, President of the Zululand Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The new USIBA tug was christened and named ahead of its delivery to the Port of Richards Bay, while the Port of Durban took delivery of its UMBILO tug which had been launched and named in May.
The vessels are the sixth and seventh respectively to roll off the production line on time and within budget.
Speaking at the event, TNPA General Manager: Strategy, Nico Walters, said the latest milestones followed TNPA and Southern African Shipyards’ joint win of the Partnership Award in the Manufacturing category of the 2017 KZN Top Business Awards, powered by the Elan Property Group.
“TNPA and Southern African Shipyards clinched the award for this project, which the awards panel recognised as demonstrating our commitment to developing South Africans, and ultimately strengthening the nation through shipbuilding and repair services. The panel deemed this operation exceptional in respect of transparency and timeous delivery,” he said.
Walters said Southern African Shipyards was playing a proactive role in helping to unlock the potential of the Ocean Economy. He said the Durban-based ship builder had upheld the highest standards of sustainability and socio-economic responsibility throughout the project.
He said, “This project is a shining example of the potential for Public Private Partnerships to create jobs and grow the economy.”
All nine tugs are being built by Southern African Shipyards in Durban, over three and a half years, as part of a wider fleet replacement programme that also includes new dredging vessels and new marine aviation helicopters.
The tugs are each 31 metres long with a 70 ton bollard pull, and feature the latest global technology such as Voith Schneider propulsion.
The tug construction is aimed at improving operational efficiency in the ports, which will enable TNPA’s marine operations to speed up vessel turnaround times.
The project has created 500 direct and 3500 indirect jobs with a minimum of 60% locally manufactured components. Subcontractors involved on the project include Barloworld Equipment, Siemens and Voith Schneider and Bradgary Marine Shopfitters.
The eight tug is due to be delivered in February 2018 and the ninth and final tug in June 2018.