THE first LNG tug boat has arrived and is now officially Gladstone-registered, with crews removing the 'Singapore' signage on Thursday. The tug is one of five that will be delivered from Sanmar Shipyard in Turkey between now and June 2015

Smit Lamnalco general manager Fred Rutgers said maritime law dictated that the vessel sailed from Turkey to Gladstone under a Singapore flag. "But the moment the Curtis Island (tug boat) arrived we registered under the Australian flag and now we can use that on the vessel," he said. "We are a Gladstone entity so we wanted to have that name on the tug."

Mr Rutgers said naming tugs was always a big occasion. "We asked the crews to come up with ideas," he said. The decision was to go with the names of the surrounding islands.

"It's something for the Gladstone region and it symbolises the ports." The tugs will be named: SL Curtis Island, SL Heron Island, SL Quoin Island, SL Wiggins Island, and SL Boyne Island.

The first tug now has to wait for the first LNG ship to require her services. For now, the crew is getting to know the ins and outs of the tug at its new home base at the RG Tanna Terminal. General manager Fred Rutgers said the five LNG tugs were a big investment for the company."The shipping yard (in Turkey) has provided exceptional quality vessels," he said."All the extra gear is really well advanced."

Engineer Desmond Bull said the tugs were bigger than their counterparts that worked in the harbour and they had a higher capacity workload."They are quite solidly built," he said, "with technology almost like a ship"."Now that she's fuelled up the masters can practice."The tug was filled with 65,000cu m of fuel on Wednesday.

Source : gladstoneobserver