PacTow Assists Puma ‘Super’ Tanker
02 November 2023
Pacific Towing (PacTow) recently assisted Puma with a much-needed fuel importation via a ‘super-sized’ tanker in Port Moresby. Nearly forty seafaring professionals aboard three tugs, and two line boats participated in the project which involved escorting, berthing, and unberthing the 274-metre-long crude oil tanker – ‘Marlin Sicily’. PacTow commercial divers also provided pollution prevention services for Puma when the vessel discharged her fuel.
Tugs Keera, Langila and Werra were deployed from the Motukea tug base early on 17 October to escort the crude oil tanker safely across Fairfax Harbour after she had cleared customs. The tugs escorted her to the Napa Napa refinery jetty where she was berthed in the afternoon and prepared for fuel discharge. Keera and Werra escorted the unloaded Marlin Sicily safely back out of Fairfax Harbour and into open waters on 19 October.
All three tugs utilised in the recent project for Puma were under the command of PNG tug masters. One of these masters, Emmanuel Simoi, is a graduate of PacTow’s in-house cadetship program. It was the first time Simoi had been in charge of a tug assisting a suezmax tanker.
PacTow’s Marine Operations Manager, Gerard Kasnari, reports that “the planning and preparation required for the arrival and departure of the tanker was significant given the high-risk nature of the project, and that multiple parties were involved.”
Prior to the tanker’s arrival, Puma held project planning meetings with senior and specialist personnel from PacTow and PNG Ports Corporation. Just some of the discussion points at these meetings included water depth, weather conditions, wind speed, water traffic, berthing plan, mooring line positions, jetty operating parameters, master/pilot/tug information exchanges, contingencies, and emergencies.
Suezmax tankers such as the Marlin Sicily will increasingly be used to meet PNG’s growing fuel requirements. These super-sized tankers provide a more efficient and cost-effective means of importing fuel and it’s anticipated that four of these vessels will visit PNG each year.
“The sheer size of the vessels in combination with weather conditions, as well as the narrowness of the Basilisk Passage, will often necessitate the use of three tugs instead of the standard two” explains Kasnari. The requirement for three tugs is in accord with new requirements of PNG Ports’ Harbour Management Services.
Kasnari says that “PacTow will sometimes also have to utilise additional mooring crews given that these tankers tend to be equipped with heavier and longer mooring lines.” Some of Marlin Sicily’s wire lines were estimated to be 250 metres long and three mooring crews were required to handle them.
PacTow delivers excellent, reliable, and safe marine services through PNG and the broader region. A well-maintained fleet, as well as a dedicated and exceptionally trained team underpin the company’s ongoing expansion and success. PacTow is part of a larger sea and land logistics group wholly owned by Steamships Limited. To learn more about PacTow: www.pacifictowingmarineservices.com.