The UK Government’s Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) has awarded a five-year contract for a new Scottish Emergency Towing Vessel (ETV) to Ardent Maritime Netherlands BV, to begin on December 31st.
The ship is the Ievoli Black, a 70 m towing vessel of some 2283 gross tonnes and a bollard pull of 139 tonnes.
The vessel is experienced in ETV operations, having served as an ETV for the Netherlands from 2010-13.The Ievoli Black has sailed from her current station in the Adriatic and is making her way to the UK in time to relieve the existing MCA tug, the Herakles, of its duties by 31 December.
The emergency tug is funded by the UK Government. Ministers announced earlier this year that they would guarantee funding for the next five years to support maritime safety in the area.
Following comprehensive engagement with local stakeholders through spring 2016, the risks to shipping off north and north-western Scotland were assessed and requirements established. The contract was awarded after an open market competition involving 22 bids and in early August, tenders were invited to meet a broad array of capability. The bids were evaluated based on vessel type and dimensions, age, bollard pull, speed, crew complement and experience, training and exercises, efficiency and the chargeable day rate. The exercise has resulted in the choice of a modern and fuel-efficient tug.
This award demonstrates the UK Government’s commitment to protecting the marine environment, specifically recognising the particular challenge in north and north-western Scotland where commercial tugs are scarce. The new contract provides the region with a new vessel which will regularly patrol her designated operations area.
UK Minister of State for Maritime the Rt Hon John Hayes MP commented: “I welcome the arrival of our new tug-boat. Maritime safety is of the greatest importance to the UK Government. This Scottish ETV will stand ready to support commercial vessels which get into trouble at sea and in doing so, will safeguard the Scottish coastline.”
The MCA’s Director of Maritime Operations Richard Parkes said: “Maritime safety is always our priority. This is why we have secured a new emergency towing vessel to protect the shores of north and north-west Scotland, where the ready availability of commercial towage is not guaranteed.”