The Mvezo tug – named after the small village where former South African President, the late Nelson Mandela was born – is the first of nine new tugs being built in Durban by Southern Africa Shipyards for Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA). The project is the largest single contract TNPA has ever awarded to a South African company for the building of harbour craft, and is part of a national project aimed at boosting port efficiency.
Global NavCom company, Radio Holland (South Africa), was awarded the contract to supply and commission the Mvezo’s high-end navigation and communication equipment – ensuring the tug’s efficiency, as well as the crew’s safety. The Mvezo now features state-of-the-art electronics such as Furuno ECDIS, BNWAS, GPS, echo sounder, AIS, radar and Sailor (VHF and MF/HF) radios. Other subcontractors on the project included renowned multi-nationals such as Siemens, Barloworld Equipment and Voith Schneider.
TNPA’s new fleet of tugs are 31m long with a 70-ton bollard pull, whereas the older tugs have 32.5- to 40-ton pulls. The increased pull of these new-generation tugs meets international standards and also features the latest global technology. Port Elizabeth Port Manager, Rajesh Dana said, “The tug is fitted with world-class technology, including navigational, communications and propulsion systems, together with world-class firefighting capabilities”.
The Mvezo set sail from Durban on Saturday, 3 April and arrived in Port Elizabeth on Monday, 4 April where she will be joined by the second tug being built for this project, “Qunu” (named after the home village of the late President Nelson Mandela).
This massive project will see two tugs each allocated to the Ports of Durban, Richards Bay and Port Elizabeth, while Saldanha, which handles the largest carriers, would receive three tugs.