As reported in the previous issue of LighthouseMagazine, Svitzer Australasia signed a milestone 20-year marine services contract in November 2013 for the Chevron-operated Wheatstone project – one of Australia’s largest resource projects. Contracts have been signed for a pilot boat and four 34-metre-long, 80tbp tugs, to be delivered to Svitzer from June through September 2016 and put into service in November/December 2016. The tugs are being built at ASL Shipyard, in Singapore; the pilot boat at Hart Marine, in Australia.

The four tugs are basically somewhat modified versions of the Gorgon tugs. At 80 tonnes they’re slightly bigger than the 75-tonne Gorgon vessels, but the main difference is that the Wheatstone tugs will be diesel electric rather than hybridpowered. This means the batteries in the hybrid Gorgon vessels will be replaced by an engine, giving the tugs the additional power required by the customer. 

Esben H. Grundtvig, Head of Group Newbuilding, points out that the Gorgon tugs are being built at the same shipyard, which means that all the experience gained on those vessels can be applied to the Wheatstone tugs. “We benefit from this continuity in a couple of ways,” he says. “In addition to the engine modification, we’re also able to make improvements wherever possible – so we’re not just building a copy of the Gorgon tugs, but an improved version. On the other hand, the overall similarity of design minimises the number of drawings that have to be reapproved, which streamlines the project, as does the good working relationship we’ve established with ASL. Another plus for the project is that we have sufficient time in the schedule to ensure that everything is done right.”

A three-person Svitzer site team at the shipyard is responsible for project oversight and coordination among the shipyard, the designer, Head Office in Copenhagen and our Australian technical and commercial organisations. The design phase of the project continues through this autumn, and steel cutting for the first tug begins at the end of this year. The pilot boat – a slightly longer version of the Gorgon pilot boat – is being supervised locally in Australia. “These new-buildings are tangible evidence of our business growth,” says Esben. “Winning LNG contracts is directly related to Svitzer’s long-term strategy of profitable growth, and the Wheatstone contract is a significant step in that direction.”

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• 80tbp ahead and astern
• Length overall 34.01m
• Breadth overall 14.01m
• Draft below skeg 5.80m
• Complement up to 10 persons
• Classification LRS, 100A1 Escort
tug, Fifi 1 with water spray,