VESSEL REVIEW | Starnav Alpha – Last of eight-vessel Brazilian escort tug series delivered to Starnav’s rapidly growing fleet

TUG & SALVAGE WEEK

Brazilian port services provider Starnav Serviços Marítimos recently took delivery of Starnav Alpha, a new escort tug with a secondary firefighting capability. The vessel is the eighth and final unit in a series of escort tugs ordered by Starnav from affiliate shipyard Detroit Brasil under a BRL430 million (US$80 million) fleet expansion programme that seeks to help make the company’s services more accessible to the respective towage markets in other countries in South America.

The ABS-classed newbuild is of all-steel construction and utilises a proprietary design that Detroit Brasil had developed specifically for Starnav once the formal order for the entire series of eight tugs was placed in late 2018. With a summer deadweight of 268 tonnes, an LOA of 32 metres, a beam of 11.6 metres, and a maximum draught of 4.1 metres, the tug is ideal for work in even the shallowest areas of the busy southern Brazilian port of Rio Grande (4.57 metres minimum designated draught), from where it has already begun providing towage and escort services for various clients along with its near identical sister vessel Starnav Izar.

Starnav Alpha is powered by two Caterpillar 3516C HD IMO Tier II-compliant main diesel engines each rated at 2,525 kW at 1,800 rpm. The main engines drive a pair of Schottel SRP 490 FP azimuth thrusters to give the tug a maximum speed of 13 knots and a bollard pull of 80 tonnes. Backup power for the vessel is available in the form of two 90kW auxiliary engines provided by Chinese manufacturer Weichai. Monitoring and control of the engines may also be performed remotely from the wheelhouse thanks to the high degree of onboard automation (as indicated by the ABCU notation).

The communications suite includes a handheld VHF radio, a 406MHz EPIRB, and a portable search and rescue (SAR) transponder. All three are compliant with current GMDSS A3 carriage requirements.

Starnav Alpha’s towing equipment consists of a bow-mounted render recovery winch and an aft winch that will allow the tug to tow other vessels that experience engine breakdown at sea. Both winches have a 200-tonne brake holding capacity and have been supplied by Spanish deck machinery specialist Ibercisa.

Finally, a pair of high-capacity FiFi1 monitors capable of pumping out up to 1,200 cubic metres of water per hour have been fitted as well to enable the tug and its crew to render firefighting assistance to other vessels, shore terminals, and even offshore platforms.

Starnav Alpha is the thirtieth tug overall to join the Starnav fleet.

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Starnav Alpha
SPECIFICATIONS
Type of vessel: Harbour tug
IMO Number: 9876878
Classification: (+)A1, Towing Vessel, BP (80mt), Circle E, HHP, X AMS, X ABCU, UWILD, FFV1, QR, ESCORT VESSEL
Port of registry: Itajaí, Brazil
Flag: Brazil
Owner: Starnav Serviços Marítimos, Brazil
Operator Starnav Serviços Marítimos, Brazil
Designer: Detroit Brasil, Brazil
Builder: Detroit Brasil, Brazil
Construction material: Steel
Length overall: 32 metres
Beam: 11.6 metres
Depth: 6.03 metres
Main engine/s: 2 x Caterpillar 3516 CHD, each 2,525 kW @ 1,800
Propulsion: 2 x Schottell SRP 490 FP azimuth thrusters
Generator/s: 2 x Weichai, each 90 kWe
Maximum speed: 13 knots
Bollard pull: 80 tonnes
Hydraulic equipment: Ibercisa render recovery towing winch
FiFi equipment: 2 x 1,200 m3/hr monitors (FiFi 1)

Nelson E. Dela Cruz

Nelson Dela Cruz is Baird Maritime's Philippines correspondent and a former local facilitator of Interferry's FerrySafe project in Manila and Cebu.