New tug equipped with all the extras at Geraldton Port

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Geoff VivianGeraldton Guardian
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Geraldton's new tug the Svitzer North on Thursday December 17 2020. The two older tugs in the background will be retired when new Svitzer vessels are ready.
Camera IconGeraldton's new tug the Svitzer North on Thursday December 17 2020. The two older tugs in the background will be retired when new Svitzer vessels are ready. Credit: The Geraldton Guardian, Geoff Vivian The Geraldton Guardian

Comfortable sleeping quarters and a galley resembling a small commercial kitchen are some of the many extras aboard Geraldton’s new tug, the Svitzer North.

Tug master Luke Ritchie said these features may not be used more than once every few years but would allow the tug to stay out for extended periods if needed.

The Svitzer North is 30m long, has 70 tonnes of bollard pull, and has been designed to work with big tankers and bulk carriers.

WA Ports Minister Alannah MacTiernan said it was important to have tugs with extra capability to escort larger vessels.

A spokesperson for the minister said two further tugs – Svitzer Wilu and Svitzer Abrolhos — were due to arrive within two months as part of operator Svitzer Australia’s non-exclusive licence for towage services with the Mid West Ports Authority.

The new tugs are said to improve safety and efficiency at Geraldton Port, and they have advanced firefighting capabilities on board.

Ms MacTiernan, who was in Geraldton to inspect the new vessel, said tugs provided a critical service to ports, enabling the safe manoeuvring of vessels in and out of the harbour.

“With Geraldton Port rapidly expanding, it is vital that we continue to invest in infrastructure and services at the port to facilitate trade,” she said. “The arrival of the new tugs extends a level of confidence to trade partners in our commitment to the Port of Geraldton, its continued development, and economic contribution to the region.”

The memory of former Geraldton Port harbour master Thomas “Martin” North lives on in the new tug’s name. Following a naming competition, the vessel was named Svitzer North after Mr North — a highly regarded harbour master locally and within the broader shipping industry.

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