VESSEL REVIEW | VB Flandes & VB Samba – Boluda newbuilds to serve Port of Zeebrugge under five-year concession

VESSEL REVIEW | VB Flandes & VB Samba – Boluda newbuilds to serve Port of Zeebrugge under five-year concession

VB Flandes (Photo: vercruysse)

Boluda Towage Europe recently took delivery of two new tugs in a series from Albwardy Damen shipyard in the UAE.

Named VB Flandes and VB Samba, the newbuilds each have a length of 32.9 metres, a beam of 13.2 metres, a draught of 6.4 metres, and a gross tonnage of just under 500. A free running speed of 13.5 knots and a bollard pull of 80 tonnes are courtesy of three Caterpillar 3512C engines that deliver a total output of 5,295 kW at 1,800 rpm.

The design is versatile enough to be suitable for ship handling, escort, and terminal support duties while the propulsion arrangement, which also includes three Z-drive-mounted Schottel SRP 1512 fixed-pitch 2,350mm propellers, ensures improved manoeuvrability necessary in navigating in more restrictive port waters. The Z-drives are arranged in an innovative triangular configuration to ensure optimal propulsion and faster handling, while providing greater safety and high-precision manoeuvring in all situations.

The Lloyd’s Register-classed tugs meet IMO Tier III emission requirements as they are capable of reducing emissions of NOx by as much as 80 per cent. Shore charging equipment is also available, allowing the vessels to shut down their engines when idle and during crew rest periods.

VB Flandes (Photo: vercruysse)

The outer deck and interior layout on the tugs was designed with ergonomics and improved accessibility as key considerations. The controls in the wheelhouse are laid out so that these are all within easy reach of an operator seated at just one helm station while the walkways in and around each vessel are devoid of tripping hazards. From the helm station, the operator enjoys clear all-around views, including that of the workspace on the aft deck. As regards accommodations, the crew of six are housed in two single cabins and two double cabins while a galley, a mess/dayroom, toilets, and a laundry room are also available.

The electronics suite includes JRC radars and GPS, Cobham VHF and MF/HF radios, Jotron EPIRB and SART, an Alphatron autopilot, and two Glamox searchlights. Power is drawn from a pair of Caterpillar C9.3 200ekW generator sets.

The firefighting equipment consists of a port engine-driven 2,800m³/hr pump with a water monitor. Boluda said the tugs are also certified to the highest firefighting standards. The deck equipment meanwhile includes an anchor winch and forward and aft towing winches supplied by DMT.

VB Flandes and VB Samba are being operated out of the Port of Zeebrugge in Belgium under a five-year concession for towage services that formally commenced on January 1 of this year and that includes options to extend by another three years. The two newbuilds and six other tugs, including two other newbuilds from a different Damen series, in the Boluda Towage Europe fleet have been deployed to serve the contract, which also specifically called for vessels that can comply with IMO Tier III requirements.

VB Samba (Photo: vercruysse)

See more stories from this month’s Tug and Salvage Week here.

VB Flandes & VB Samba
Type of vessel: Escort tugs
Classification: Lloyd’s Register ✠100A1, Tug, Ø Fire-Fighting 1 with water spray, IWS, (specified) Coastal Service [✠]LMC, UMS
Flag: Belgium
Owner: Boluda Towage Europe, Netherlands
Operator: Boluda Towage Europe, Netherlands
Designer: Damen Shipyards Group, Netherlands
Builder: Albwardy Damen, UAE
Hull construction material: Steel
Superstructure construction material: Steel
Deck construction material: Steel
Length overall: 32.9 metres
Beam: 13.2 metres
Draught: 6.4 metres
Gross tonnage: 495
Main engines: 3 x Caterpillar 3512C, each 1,765 kW at 1,800 rpm
Propulsion: 3 x Schottel SRP 1512 fixed-pitch propellers
Generators: 2 x Caterpillar C9.3, each 200 ekW
Maximum speed: 13.5 knots
Bollard pull: 80 tonnes
Radar: JRC
Radios: Cobham VHF; Cobham MF/HF
Autopilot: Alphatron
Compass: Cassens and Plath
GMDSS: Jotron
Audio system: Phontech intercom
Other electronics: Observator wind sensor
Winches: DMT
Fendering: D-type; W-type; cylindrical
Other equipment installed: Azcue fuel transfer pump; Alfa Laval fuel separator; Ecomar sewage treatment system
Searchlights: 2 x Glamox
Firefighting equipment: Pump; water monitor
Type of fuel: Diesel
Fuel capacity: 204,000 litres
Freshwater capacity: 32,800 litres
Sewage/blackwater capacity: 8,800 litres
Accommodation: 2 x single cabins; 2 x double cabins; galley; mess; toilets; laundry room
Crew: 6

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