HAMMERHEARD and Mako are the respective names of Fortescue Metals Group’s new tug fleet, a naming ceremony having taken place at Damen Song Cam Shipyard in Hai Phong, Vietnam.

Fortescue is procuring nine tugs to provide towage services and maximise efficiency at Port Hedland in Western Australia. These include six advanced rotor tugs 85-32W, built by Damen Shipyard and its joint venture partner Song Cam.

Chief executive Elizabeth Gaines said the vast volumes of iron ore being shipped necessitated the tug program.

“As a global leader in the iron ore industry, we ship in excess of 170m tonnes of ore annually, which involves up to three ship movements from our operations at Port Hedland every day,” Ms Gaines said. “We are proud to operate the most efficient bulk port operation in Australia and the towage fleet represents the final element in Fortescue’s supply chain.”

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The naming ceremony coincided with the completion of the tug haven construction project at Fortescue’s Herb Elliott Port.

The nine-berth facility was built in the vicinity of berths one to three at Anderson Point.

“Together with the new tug facilities, Fortescue’s tug fleet will provide additional capacity and an alternative supplier of towage services for all Port Hedland users, ensuring Fortescue can provide long-term sustainable towage services crucial to meeting the demands of our customers,” Ms Gaines said.

Fortescue team members voted to name the tugs after species of sharks.

“Sharks represent the strength and endurance of these tug boats and of Fortescue itself,” Ms Gaines said.

“I would like to thank the entire Fortescue family who have worked on this project, as well the team from Damen Shipyard and Song Cam, for their ingenuity, determination and hard work. We look forward to celebrating the arrival of the tugs into Port Hedland next year.”

Fortescue secured the second towage licence at Port Hedland in the first half of 2016.

Fortescue has engaged KOTUG as its towage services operator.

KOTUG is to work with local provider Westug to manage the towage operations in Port Hedland, with the new services to start in mid-2019.

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