Mackenzie Marine & Towage of Esperance, Western Australia, has purchased two, twin-fin Azimuth Tractor Drive (ATD) Tugs 2412 for operations in Bunbury Port, on the south-west coast of Western Australia. The two vessels, named Cape Naturaliste and Cape Leeuwin after local landmarks, have arrived and were officially inaugurated on the 5th of April. These compact, heavy duty tugs have a bollard pull of over 70 tonnes. That, combined with a top speed of over 12 knots both ahead and astern and a powerful aft winch, makes them ideal for continuous and effective harbour towage activities.
Mackenzie Marine & Towage (MMT) is a fourth-generation, family-owned company and has been the harbour towage operator in the nearby port of Esperance since the 1970s. The company bought its first Damen tug, the ASD 2411 Shoal Cape, in 2006 and a second of the same class in 2013, named the Hellfire Bay.
In 2014 the merger of the Esperance Port Authority, the Albany Port Authority, and the Bunbury Port Authority led to the establishment of the Southern Ports Authority. In 2016 it put out a tender for towage operations in the ports of Esperance and Bunbury. With MMT already well established in Esperance with the two ASD Tugs 2411 it consulted with users of Bunbury Port regarding their needs. The feedback was that tractor tugs would be preferred and so, by offering two, state-of-the-art ATD 2412 Twin Fin tugs, MMT was able to secure the combined licence for Esperance and Bunbury.
The ability to meet the short delivery time for this latest order was a key part of the contract. The towage license was announced in September 2016 and operations were required to start just two months later. The very tight time frame meant that MMT was not able to inspect the yard or the vessels that Damen had ready in stock before placing the orders. However, managing director Sean Mackenzie trusted Damen to deliver to their required standards and went ahead and placed the order. Damen also arranged the required financing for the vessels in time for delivery.
Forty guests attended the naming ceremony, at which champagne was carefully poured over the bows of each vessel and Southern Ports Authority CEO Nicholas Fertin was among the attendees who made a short speech. At the event, Southern Ports harbour master Captain Gary Wilson added that the tugs will be kept busy with more than 450 big boats requiring docking assistance every year. “These tugboats are new and modern – the design is unparalleled,” he was quoted as saying.
Sean Mackenzie commented, "Mackenzie Marine and towage is extremely happy with the delivery and performance of the new 2412 tractor tugs that we have received from Damen. MMT has built a wonderful relationship with Damen over the last ten years so we know we can trust them to have the very best tugs and back up support in Australia. We are looking forward to being able to build this relationship further into the future.”