Original news was published on 13, June 2014
Signalling a major commitment to tug fleet renewal, Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA) has placed a 10-vessel order with Damen Shipyards Group, as part of the state-owned operator’s strategic shift from chartered in to owned tonnage. The new tugs, which are expected to enhance operating efficiencies while reduce running costs, will provide mooring and manoeuvring support to tankers in Venezuelan ports and harbours.
Following a global tender, the contract calls for Dutch shipbuilding group Damen to supply ten ASD 2810 type Azimuthing Stern Drive tugs, each with a 60 tonne bollard pull rating. Seven of these 28m long tugs are being supplied by Damen Shipyards Galati (Romania), while the remaining three are being built at Damen’s joint venture Song Cam yard in Vietnam. All ten tugs are expected to be delivered by the end of July this year.
The Venezuelan oil company has several years of experience operating chartered-in tonnage to the ASD 2810 design. However, this is the first time that Damen has secured a direct contract from PDVSA.
“There are two main reasons why PDVSA opted for the Damen design,” says Erik Hertel, Damen regional sales manager. “Technically the ASD 2810’s flexibility and high-end performance makes a perfect match for PDVSA requirements; this is our most popular standard tug and has a proven track record for reliability. In addition we were able to provide a very short delivery time as a result of our policy of building tugs for stock.”
The 10 tugs have each been specified with a number of optional extras, including FiFi 1 capability, an aft towing winch and a larger than usual deck crane. The latter will have a lift capacity of 1.45 tonnes and 12.6m outreach.
Hertel suggest that while this is the first direct Damen contract with PDVSA, it may not be the last. “We are talking to PDVSA about further orders to meet their various requirements as a result of the ongoing tug renewal project,” he says. “We developed a close cooperation with them as part of this project and we hope very much to build a long term partnership over the months to come.”
In addition to tug newbuilding contracts, the shipbuilder and PDVSA are in active discussions over the possibility of Damen setting up service and maintenance facilities to support the operations of its new fleet of tugs in Venezuela.