Mombasa Port acquires Sh3.3bn tugboat, cranes


Cargo Containers at the Second Container Terminal within the Port of Mombasa in this photo taken on 11th January 2022. PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT | NMG

Efficiency at the port of Mombasa is set to be boosted after the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) acquired a Sh1.9 billion multipurpose salvage tugboat and three ship-to-shore gantry cranes at Sh3.3 billion.

The salvage tugboat bought from Turkey and three ship-to-shore gantry cranes from Japan will boost efficiency and bulk handling activities at the second container terminal. This follows President Uhuru Kenyatta’s order for port efficiency to boost businesses in East Africa.

Last week, when he visited the Kipevu Oil Terminal which will be fully commissioned, the Head of State urged port officials to boost efficiency and deal with many challenges including congestion.

The multipurpose tugboat boat will provide rescue services, marine salvage, fire suppression at sea and control maritime pollution.

KPA general manager operation and harbour, Sudi Mwasingo said the newly acquired salvage tugboat will open new markets for port operators.

KPA has already received business requests for the use of the tugboat for rescue marine operations during emergencies.

“The authority can recover the sum spent to acquire the tugboat during its operations. It will not only assist in salvage operations at sea but open a new market,” he said while addressing the media during the reception of the new tugboat at the new dockyard tug jetty at the Port of Mombasa.

Mr Sudi said the cranes will assist the port in terms of efficiency, increased berth throughput, faster ship turnaround and reduced waiting time.

“The decision to acquire the salvage boat was reached after we established that KPA was incurring a lot of expenses in hiring salvage services. The tugboat has been christened Mkokozi 11, it took 20 days to arrive from Turkey,” said Mr Mwasingo.

“Last year MV Theresa Arctic ran aground near the entrance to the Kilifi Creek while sailing to the port of Mombasa, KPA was forced to take services of an international firm to salvage the vessel. The boat will boost KPA’s revenue streams,” he added.

Mr Mwasingo an engineer by profession said in the entire African region it is only in South Africa that has salvage boats.

The tugboat was built by Med Marine in Turkey. It is installed with Two SCHOTTEL Rudder Propellers type SRP 710.

Mkokozi 11 is equipped with main and auxiliary systems from SCHOTTEL to enable it to achieve an expected bollard pull of more than 120 tonnes. The Robert Allan RAstar 4200 (MED-A42120) design vessel is considered the largest tugboat on the East African coast of the Indian Ocean.

The new vessel will be driven by two SCHOTTEL RudderPropellers type SRP 710 with an input power of 3,700 kW each at an input speed of 1,000 rpm. The SRPs feature propellers measuring 3.4 meters in diameter. The azimuth thrusters will be powered by diesel engines.

Furthermore, one hydraulically-driven SCHOTTEL Transverse Thruster type STT 170 (250 kW) will ensure maximum maneuverability.

KPA in a statement said the highly effective propulsion system will enable the tug to provide more efficient ship handling and coastal towing services.

Measuring 42 meters in length at a width of 16 meters, the salvage tug is equipped with extensive towing facilities, extinguishing monitors for firefighting, external bilge systems for leak detection, workshops, ship cranes and dinghies.

Acting general manager KPA engineering services, Javan Wanga said offloading and commissioning of the gantry cranes to make them ready for use will take two months.

He said the equipment will position the port for Mombasa to be a hub port within the region. The facility can do more than 550,000 TEUs annually. Currently, the port is doing 1.2 million.

“The crane has a capacity of moving to and fro the ship containers 40 moves per hour with a hoisting speed of the load a maximum of 80 metres per minute traveling along the rails above 45 metres per minute. It’s modern equipment. This will improve the productivity of the port and deal with congestion issues,” said Mr Wanga.

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