Boating NZ : FREE TO READ March 2014
to drop when a ship enters or leaves the port shipping channel. As APL Jeddah towered above us, her crew moved like toy men along her decks. The propeller churned the water and we sat in a swirl of sea-lace. “The ship’s final kick ahead is to stop him exactly on his marks,” McGregor says. These marks on the wharf ensure the ship is positioned for cargo operations. “A good pilot will land a ship alongside a berth with just a gentle kiss, then we’ll come in at a strategic moment and just push him onto the wharf. He’s already got the springs on.” “Quarter push aft,” says the pilot over the radio. “Aft tug holding quarter power,” McGregor responds. Then it was my turn for a drive. Women are great at multi-tasking, right? Well, it helps to visualise the 2hp outboard scenario, then double it, and then try not to over-think it. Oh, and to think in quadrants. TUG BOAT CREW The tug boat skippers are based at the Ports of Auckland building at Mechanics Bay. They work 12-hour shifts; five shifts on, four days off. For every shift, they check to see which ships are due in and how many tugs are designated to each one. “It may be two tugs allocated to a ship on arrival and one tug on departure,” says McGregor. “It’s purely based on conditions. Ship size, wind and tide are the main drivers of tug requirement. If it’s a deep draft ship, it will have two tugs on arrival. Some ships have working thrusters so may have only one tug for departure because they can thrust themselves off the berth to get the angle they need for departure.” For both manoeuvres the day I was onboard, there were two tugs, due to the ships’ deep draft and the unusually high king tides. Both tugs take instruction from the pilot. Occasionally a pilot might ask for three tugs, in which case the older tug Daldy comes into service. After 20 years of working on tugs, McGregor still loves his job. “I love sunrises,” he says. “I love the challenge of operating these high tech machines and the changing conditions in weather and shipping which creates variety.” Near misses? “Very occasionally a pilot will lose a radio due to equipment malfunction. They have battery-operated handheld radios and can rely on ship's equipment for back-up.” Tugs rarely lose power or control during a shipping job, and there are multiple protocols in place. In winds of more than 20 knots, every vessel movement is automatically allocated two tugs; at 40 knots, the port is closed and all container operations are stopped. “At more than 30 knots, a fully crewed tug needs to be on stand-by,” says McGregor. “This is especially so in easterlies. Ships can have a failure on their winches, lines can pay out and vessels can swing out from their berths so we’re on standby to come in and push them back alongside.” They still need the little guys. ➤ built 2000 ➤ gross tonnage 340 tonnes ➤ loa 22.45m ➤ beam moulded 9.10m ➤ depth moulded 4.05m ➤ draft 3.90 -4 .25m ➤ static pull 49T/51T bow/stern @1850rpm ➤ windlass 12T line pull/120T static brake capacity ➤ towline 100m/88mm SSR1200 polyester/ polyprop 125T/BS 15m/48mm Spectra eye 127.3T/BS ➤ main engines Caterpillar 3516 EUI 60 degrees V16 1641kW/2200b.h.p @ 1800rpm ➤ propellers Vickers Ulstein Z drives 1650H 4blade 2184 diameter ➤ propeller speed 293rpm ➤ driven caden shafts hydraulic clutches Tug boat, Wakakume The port Z-drive 'like a 2hp outboard' in the bowels of the tug boat Wakakume. LEES GROUP Power Solutions Phone 09 299 6019 182 Great South Road, Takanini, Auckland email email@example.com Dealer enquries Welcome www.leesgroup.com PROVEN HIGH PeRFoRMAnCe Best VALUe In nZ HOT PRICING RIDInG the WAV e OF INNOVATION LIGHT-HEAVY DUTY 20 - 825 HP PLEASURE DUTY 60 - 295 HP LIGHT - HEAVY DUTY 160 - 1200 HP Korean reliability,55 years in production Heavy duty mechanical engines Continuous power ratings Mechanical injection models available from 20 to 280 HP Electronic Common Rail models available from 230 to 825 HP Winner of current international boat speed/efficency records Excellent power to weight ratio Available in Sail Drive/Shaft Drive/Stern Drive Best in class models available 0314-67 subscribe online at www.mags4gifts.co.nz/boating-nz 85 Feature_Tug boat_March14.indd 85 18/02/2014 5:14:32 p.m.
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