Monday, September 16, 2013

Tug Service Available for Freight and Passenger Vessels as British Group Expands Towage Operations

Two Vessels Deployed in Harbour from This Month
Shipping News Feature

UK – A new towage business has opened at Belfast Harbour which the company responsible says is in response to demand from port users. SMS Towage Ltd has invested over £5 million in the 24 hour a day operation which sees two modern and highly-manoeuvrable tug boats, capable of handling a full range of freight and passenger vessels, commence operations in October.

The ASD Irishman and ASD Masterman, with bollard pulls of 40 and 50 tonnes respectively, will be mobilised to Belfast this month and will also offer a ‘just in time’ service for the convenience of customers. The independent Northern Irish company will trade under the brand of SMS Towage, which operates on the River Humber and South Wales ports having grown quickly over the past decade to become the country’s largest independent harbour towage company.

SMS Towage employs around 130 staff in its operation and Managing Director Patrick Lyon said that the company had been set up to meet a clear demand for its services, commenting:

“This [expansion] was achieved through offering a highly flexible, competitive service and continual investment in our modern fleet. We see Belfast as a strategic location. It is a vibrant port that will be home to a purpose built cruise terminal, a new offshore wind terminal and had a record year in 2012. We believe there is great potential for growth in the new business that will result in local employment.

“It is a real milestone being involved in a Belfast-owned company. We envisage that we will make a great success of it by applying our experience of this specialist area of business to offer Belfast Harbour users a superior, economical service and advanced fleet of omnidirectional tugs.”

Photo: Patrick Lyon