First of Six New Tugs Delivered to BHP Billiton
With the arrival of the Iron Kestrel and Iron Corella in Port
Hedland, Western Australia, the first two of BHP Billiton Iron
Ore's six boat order for Robert Allan Ltd.'s RAstar 85 Class
escort tugs have now been delivered by ASL Shipyards Singapore.
These modern high performance tugs will escort bulk carriers in
and out of Port Hedland. They were custom designed and built to
meet the environmental conditions and operational requirements of
the world's busiest bulk commodity port by tonnage. Very high air
and water temperatures, significant amounts of airborne ore dust,
strong currents in a narrow channel and a requirement to operate
up to the closing conditions of 3 meters significant wave height
and 35 knot wind speed create a formidable design challenge.
Adding to this are the long escort distances through exposed
water and the high operational hours on the tugs putting further
demands on the equipment and the operators.
Robert Allan Ltd. said its RAstar style hull form with unique
sponsoned hull form that provides enhanced escort towing and
seakeeping performance was chosen for the design. Guided by an
extensive computer based Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD)
analyses, a large foil shaped escort skeg was designed for the
hull along with a well aft-biased "Wide-A" escort staple
positioned to ensure the tug would generate the required steering
forces. A subsequent self-propelled model test program was
conducted to verify all of the Owner's performance requirements
would be met.
Particulars of the RAstar 85 tugs are as follows:
- Length: 34.94 m
- Beam: 14.75 m
- Depth (Least Moulded): 6.07 m
- Draft with 260 DWT: 6.18 m
- GT: 710
Capacities (at 98 percent):
- Fuel oil: 225 m³
- Fresh water: 32 m³
- Lube oil: 6.0 m³
- Grey water: 6.8 m³
- Black water: 6.8 m³
Propulsion and Generating Machinery:
- Two Main Engines Caterpillar C175-16 rated 2,550 kW at 1,800
rpm (IMO Tier II Compliant)
- 2 x Schottel SRP 4600 with 2.7 m controllable pitch
- 2 x CAT C18 ship service gensets providing 350 ekW at 1,500
- 1 x CAT C9 genset rated 150 ekW at 1,500 rpm
Working Deck Towing Equipment:
- Towing Winch: A Markey Model DESF-48-400HP escort towing
winch is fitted on the fore deck. Powered by a 400 HP, water
cooled, continuous duty, electric driven motor the two-speed
winch delivers a pull of 191 metric tons at 8m/min in first gear
(barrel layer) and 44 metric tons at 35 m/min in second gear
(barrel layer) with a braking capacity of 250 metric tons. The
water cooled slip brake is designed to prevent shock load damage
to the winch and it's gearing. The under-spooled single drum is
sized for 200 m of 80 mm diameter towline on the main part with a
50 m working part.
- "Wide A" Staple: Located well aft for higher escort forces
and designed to move the tow-point outboard away from the house
works when conducting powered indirect maneuvers, the wide staple
also acts to provide a righting moment when heeled over during
escort operations. The staple is engineered to a design load of
400 metric tons.
- Karmoy Escort Tow Pins: Fitted forward for use in transit
escort mode is a set of 350 mm diameter stainless steel
retractable escort towing pins with a SWL of 140 metric tons.
These hold the hawser in position and prevent the tug yawing when
running at speed with a relatively light line behind the tug.
When required to operate in indirect mode the pins are rapidly
dropped and the line moves aft to the staple.
In order to keep the main working deck as clear as possible to
provide a safe working area, the anchoring equipment was fitted
at the stern of the vessel. The aft deck also features a 300
metric ton SWL cyclone mooring bitt and fairlead in the aft
The vessels are very heavily fendered for the expected high
swells that are often present. Bow fendering consists of a 1,000
mm diameter cylindrical fender secured by radial chains and
extending well aft along with a lower course of 450 mm thick
W-fender. Sheer fendering is 350 x 350 mm D-fender. Stern
fendering is 450 mm thick W-fender.
Crew accommodations are arranged with the main deck featuring a
generous sized mess and galley, a large office that can be used
as a spare cabin, and a locker room with laundry facility. The
lower deck includes five MLC compliant cabins able to accommodate
eight crew in total. The wheelhouse features a single Alphatron
control console with winch operator position. Visibility to the
forward working deck is exceptional.
Due to the harsh environmental conditions, significant effort was
placed on designing for durability and maintainability, the
designer said. For example, extensive use of stainless steel was
included on the exterior of the vessel including railings,
stairs, louvres, etc.
The vessels have been constructed to Lloyd's Register Class
requirements with the following notation: LR + 100A1 TUG, + LMC,
On trials, the vessels exceeded all performance expectations
achieving in excess of 85 metric tons bollard pull, with a free
running speed ahead of 13.9 knots, and free running speed astern
of 13.5 knots.
Apr 19, 2017