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Newcomer As ASD Tug Enters Service in Belfast Port

2nd November 2015
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#NewBelfastTug – One of the largest UK independent harbour tug firms, SMS Towage has taken delivery of another tug for its Belfast operations last month. 

The new ASD (azimuth stern drive) tug to Belfast brings the overall investment in the Northern Irish city port to over £9m having began operations just over two years ago in October 2013.

The Turkish-built ASD Merchantman completed in 2009 has a 50 bollard tonnes. The near 25m long vessel is sister to the ASD Masterman (as previously reported on Afloat.ie) which entered service in the city also in 2013.

Together they form the most modern fleet of omni-directional tugs in Belfast Harbour, said joint managing director Gareth Escreet of Hessle, East Yorkshire-based SMS Towage.

“This is a significant level of investment, and shows our commitment and confidence in the growing level of activity we are experiencing in Belfast,” said Gareth.

“With an operational life here beyond 2030, it allows us to leverage the fleet advantages of commonality of spare parts, training, and vessel familiarisation.”

SMS Towage began trading in Belfast due to the attraction as desired for change from major port users and with potential for work from a new offshore wind terminal and a purpose built cruise terminal.

Last year, Belfast saw a record 112,000 cruise passengers pass through the port.

The tug firm also deals with regular vessel towage work from the Fred Olsen-owned businesses of Dolphin Drilling and Harland & Wolff.

The Olsen group includes the Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines whose ships have visited the port. The most recent example been Boudicca which was on a ‘no passport required' cruise last month of the UK and Ireland.

Published in Belfast Lough
Jehan Ashmore

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Jehan Ashmore

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Jehan Ashmore is a marine correspondent, researcher and photographer, specialising in Irish ports, shipping and the ferry sector serving the UK and directly to mainland Europe. Jehan also occasionally writes a column, 'Maritime' Dalkey for the (Dalkey Community Council Newsletter) in addition to contributing to UK marine periodicals. 

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