New tug boats heading to island
Two new tug boats are en route to the island to replace ageing ships.
The Powerful and Forceful, both more than 30 years old, do not have the power or the manoeuvrability to assist modern cruise ships, car ships and tankers.
The Damen tugs, due to arrive in the middle of the month, were built to international standards and will be ready to operate once crew training and sea trials are completed.
The transport ministry last year negotiated an extension to Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings' berthing agreement until to 2028.
Included in the agreement was a berthing rights fee of $15 million and the cash was put towards the purchase of two new tractor tugs to assist ships in Bermuda waters.
Rudy Cann, the director of the Department of Marine and Ports, said: “This generous support from NCL allowed marine and ports to order the tugs in January 2020 and, despite these unprecedented times, the tugs were built ahead of schedule and will be delivered to Bermuda within a nine-month time frame from the placement of the order, and we are truly grateful.”
Neville Tyrrell, the Minister of Transport, thanked Frank J. Del Rio, the president and CEO of NCL Holdings, Howard Sherman, EVP Onboard Revenue and Destination Services, and Steve Moeller, the senior vice-president of commercial development, for their commitment to the island.
Mr Tyrrell said: “We recognise this substantial contribution was made prior to Covid-19, at a time when Bermuda was in need of two new tugs.”
Mr Sherman added: “We are immensely pleased to renew, yet again, our historic, time-tested partnership with Bermuda that goes back to the early 1990s.
“It is of special note that we are able to renew this friendship in these very difficult times.”
He added that the fuel-efficient tugs “will serve both to replace the tugs currently in service, and will represent a step forward environmentally”.
The tugs, built at a Vietnamese shipyard, were loaded last month on board a special heavy-lift ship, the M/V Anne Sofie.
A team will work with the Department of Marine and Ports team to familiarise the crew with the ships and give training in towing, mooring, and firefighting and oil pollution control systems.