Lamu Port will now commence tugging operations after Kenya Ports Authority acquired a brand new tugboat worthy 1.4 Billion.
MV. PATE LAMU state of the art tugboat, was officially received on Tuesday by KPA chairman Gen. (Rtd) Joseph Kibwana and KPA acting Managing Director John Mwangemi at the Mombasa Dockyard Jetty.
The Azimuth Stern Drive (ASD) Tugboat was built by a Turkish company Med Marine in collaboration with the Kenya Shipyards Limited at a cost of Sh1.4 billion.
It boasts of a bollard pull of 85 tons and a length overall of 29 metres.
Kibwana said Kenya Ports Authority has been incurring huge expenses because Lamu port has been depending on equipment from Mombasa port since it was commissioned last year by President Uhuru Kenyatta.
“With such an arrangement, we have also had to incur huge expenses from time to time whenever we ferry equipment from the Port of Mombasa to facilitate services such as pilotage and tugging,” said Kibwana.
The 29 meters long with 85 tons Bollard Pull capacity tugboat from Turkey was marked with a harbor lap, salute and berthing at the Dockyard Jetty.
He said that it was gratifying to witness actualization of the Authority’s plans and efforts of equipping the Port of Lamu with its own equipment.
“The delivery of MV Pate is therefore a step in the right direction. The vessel’s capacity to handle port operations for all kinds and sizes of vessels safely, efficiently, and effectively, gives us a sigh of relief. Her arrival is timely for the Port of Lamu,” Kibwana said.
The boat is also fitted with two Caterpillar main engine series CAT 3516C – HD, screw Rolls Royce propulsion system, modern winches, and firefighting system.
Kibwana said that the KPA board and management were cognizant of the importance of the Port of Lamu as a strategic facility in the region.
“Accordingly, the Board and Management have progressed plans to acquire more equipment in phases, parallel with the ongoing construction of the Port and its supportive infrastructure”
“For instance, besides this tugboat, we are expecting an additional three mobile harbour cranes to make a total of five for the port. We have also progressed plans to purchase three Ship to Shore Gantry cranes, three Rubber Tyred Gantry Cranes and four Terminal Tractors for the port,” he said.
KPA acting Managing Director John Mwangemi said that the acquisition of the new tugboat was part of KPA ’s development agenda grounded on a detailed strategic plan roadmap that guides the authority to anticipate emerging industry needs of the future based on maritime trade trends and market needs.
He said that KPA had embarked on robust equipping of the Lamu Port to maximize its operational capabilities.
“The delivery of MV Pate Tugboat is part of the Port of Lamu’s marine vessels fleet, which will exclusively offer tuggage services for vessels calling the Port of Lamu,” said Mwangemi.
He said that, Initially, the Port of Lamu relied on the dispatch of tugs from the Port of Mombasa whenever a vessel called, contributing to high operational costs and time.
“The arrival of this tugboat is therefore a welcome relief as it would exclusively serve the Port of Lamu where it would be stationed permanently,” Mwangemi said.
He said that due to her superior features, MV Pate shall be able to handle port and marine operations for all kinds and sizes of vessels safely and efficiently and is estimated to serve the port for a period of 20 years.
He added that KPA was also in the tendering process for the planned acquisition of a Pilot boat and Mooring boat to further streamline marine operations at the Port of Lamu.
“We now have a fleet of seven tugboats, four mooring and pilot boats, and a pollution control and security boat each. These developments give us confidence to be able to market our services globally,” he said.
Mwangemi also said that the Port of Mombasa recorded a steady rise in vessels with an overall length of more than 250 meters with a carrying capacity of 6000 TEUs in recent times.
He said that a total of 1,635 vessels called the Port of Mombasa last year.
He said that last week KPA hosted a delegation from the Democratic Republic of Congo keen to understand the workings of the Northern Transport Corridor and specifically the port facilities of Mombasa, ICD Nairobi and Naivasha.
“We have also revamped the Port of Kisumu which since its renovations in 2018, has recorded steady rise in cargo traffic to the neighboring Port Bell and Jinja in Uganda and Mwanza in Tanzania respectively” “With the planned commissioning of MV Uhuru II, we are optimistic that the volumes at the Port of Mombasa will increase markedly as a result. We are also looking to expand other small ports like Sio and Shimoni in Kwale,” said Mwangemi.