DAMEN Shipyards Group has signed a contract with Australia-based South32 GEMCO for a new ASD Tug 2312 tugboat.

The shipbuilder said the ASD Tug 2312 would be the first such vessel to operate in the country.

The tug has already been built at the Damen Song Cam Shipyard in Vietnam, as the company produces the vessels for stock. Damen is to deliver the vessel to the Port of Darwin by October.

South32 GEMCO will operate the new vessel as an escort tug in support of its manganese mining operation on Groote Eylandt in the Northern Territory. It is approximately 650 kilometres south-east of Darwin.

GEMCO is majority owned and operated by South32, an ASX-listed, Perth-headquartered mining and metals company.

Though a standard Damen design, the ASD Tug 2312 is being fitted out with several options to meet South32 GEMCO’s specifications. This includes installation of a push bow, CCTV, a crane and a second towing line and anchor.

Damen said the ASD Tug 2312 is safer and more efficient than its predecessor, the ASD Tug 2310. The new design tugboats have a bollard pull of 70 tonnes and a twin fin skeg and dual azimuth thrusters. The ASD Tug 2312 is 22.8 metres in length and has a beam of 12.03 metres.