Markey to provide winches for new Australian escort tugs

(SEATTLE) — Markey Machinery has announced a new project for ASL Shipyard PTE Ltd. in Singapore, the end user being BHP Billiton, operator of the towage services at Port Hedland, Western Australia. As part of its risk mitigation strategy to channel blockage, BHP Biliton has ordered six new tugs from ASL Shipyard with Markey escort winches and vertical capstan/windlasses to enhance its growing fleet.

Port Hedland presents unique challenges due to its remote location and harsh weather conditions. With this in mind, Blaine Dempke, president of Markey Machinery, said, “These types of custom winch builds are what Markey Machinery does best. Working hand in hand with the customer, shipyard and naval architects, we are able to meet the demanding timelines while still enforcing our methodical and robust manufacturing processes to deliver exactly what the customer needs.”

The Markey model DESF-48 winches will be placed on the Robert Allen-designed RAstar ASD escort tugs. By keeping all electrical and pneumatic elements protected and enclosed, they are made to withstand both the harsh elements of the Australian climate and marine environment. Dust and salt are both detrimental to machine gearing, which is also why Markey Machinery protects them in an enclosed gearbox and oil bath.

The narrow channel of Port Hedland demands winches that will work when called upon because the cost of failure is extremely high. To that end, Markey Machinery powered its machines with 400-hp, water-cooled, continuous-duty electric motors. All above deck and in watertight enclosures, these state-of-the-art electric motors were specially designed to meet the unique performance, operational and environmental requirements that Port Hedland demands. These two-speed winches boast a performance rating of 191 tonnes at 8m/min in first gear (barrel layer) and 44 tonnes at 35 m/min in second gear (barrel layer) with a braking capacity of 250 tonnes. The water-cooled slip brakes are designed to prevent shock load damage to the winch and its gearing. The under-spooled single drum is sized for 200 meters of 72mm diameter plasma on the main part with the working part being 50 meters.

The winches' spooling gear is also totally enclosed to protect it from the elements. The Markey Machinery render/recover option is included, allowing the winch to automatically pay out and haul line to an adjustable line tension, negating slack line and mitigating shock loads. This system increases crew safety and simplifies winch operation. The wheelhouse instrumentation includes a display for line tension and scope during all modes of operation. The data logging capability stores tension and scope readings for six months (or longer), and job-specific data such as ton hours and time under load is stored for the life of the machine. Having the ability to go back and see the readings on past events can help in troubleshooting incidents that might arise. The stored workload data can also lend itself in helping to determine maintenance cycles and line replacement.

In addition to the escort winches, each tug will also be outfitted with two Markey VEP-16-40 vertical capstan/windlasses that are designed to meet class regulations. With a maximum bitt rating of 5.5 tonnes, the vertical shaft capstan barrel and single wildcat (sized for 26mm grade 2 stud link chain) are powered by a 10-hp underdeck motor with auto brake and anti-condensation heaters. The on-deck controls are housed in a NEMA-4X box to protect them from the environment.

This project, while years in the making, has been worth the wait. Scott Kreis, vice president of sales, said, “Having started on this project nearly four years ago and working closely with Robert Allan Ltd. to refine the needed specifications for the winches, we are extremely happy to see this project come to fruition. Being able to communicate directly with the naval architects is very important in defining the correct winch and integrating it into the tug design.”

Markey is set to deliver its first ship set of winches in May 2016.

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By Professional Mariner Staff