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Super tug on order to help Navy's new carriers into Portsmouth

15 February 2016
A new super tug is currently being built to help the Navy’s biggest warships into and out of Portsmouth.

Arriving in the city early next year – ahead of the maiden entry by carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth – this is the small, but powerful craft which will be vital to guiding the 65,000-tonne leviathan in and out of harbour and on and off the wall at the new Princess Royal jetty.

Support firm Serco – who operate the tugs and harbour vessels used by the RN in Portsmouth, Faslane and Devonport – has commissioned Dutch firm Damen to provide it with a tug.

The shipbuilders are modifying their proven ART (Advanced Rotor Tug) 80-32 design, in use in harbours and ports around the globe, specifically to meet the requirements of the two new carriers, including fitting a folding mast so the boat can work safely under the overhanging flight decks.

This fantastic new tug will play a very important role at the naval base, and the team eagerly await her arrival

Iain MacLeod, Serco Marine Service

The 107ft craft is designed with a bollard pull – the standard rate of measurement in tugboat world – of 84 tonnes; standard tugs are measured at 50 tonnes, those working with large commercial vessels at 60-65 tonnes.

“This fantastic new tug will play a very important role at the naval base, and the team eagerly await her arrival,” said Serco Marine Service’s business operations manager Iain MacLeod.

“There were significant challenges to be met with respect to vessel power, manoeuvrability, customisation and delivery time, but once again, Damen more than rose to the challenge. ”

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