British outsourcing company Serco has contracted Dutch shipbuilder Damen to build a new tug which will help the company support the Royal Navy carriers at Portsmouth Naval Base under a marine services contract it has with the UK’s Ministry of Defence (MOD).
According to Serco vessel will be the first of its type under the UK Flag.
The Damen ART (Advanced Rotor Tug®) 80-32 tug will have the manoeuvrability, power (80 Tonnes Bollard Pull) and towing flexibility needed to support the Queen Elizabeth Class Aircraft Carriers, the two largest ships ever commissioned for the Royal Navy.
HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales are currently under construction at Rosyth on the River Forth in Scotland. Construction of the new tug is also well underway and Serco expects to take delivery of the vessel in early 2017.
Serco currently provides a range of marine services to the MOD operating out of Portsmouth, Devonport and the Scottish west coast sites at Greenock, Faslane and Kyle of Lochalsh. This includes passenger ferry, towage and nuclear safety support for the Royal Navy and visiting foreign Naval submarines and ships.
The new tug will bring the company’s total fleet to 115, of which 31 will be Damen-built.
The Damen ART features a patented RotorTug® propulsion system consisting of three azimuthing thrusters. Serco has also specified a number of modifications to the standard Robert Allan design to enable her to support the huge aircraft carriers. These include a double drum render /recovery aft winch for redundancy and a foldable mast for safe working under the flight deck overhang.
Furthermore, like the previously built tugs for Serco, Damen is fitting the 32.9-metre long tug with grey fendering to match the livery of Royal Navy vessels, thus preventing marking of the hulls. They will also be installing controllable pitch propellers instead of the usual fixed pitch propellers found on other ART 80-32 vessels.
Damen Sales Manager UK, Arjen van Elk, added: “It will be a proud moment for the Damen team to see one of our tugs assisting such an important member of the UK naval fleet.”