RAstar 3200 tugs entertain guests at blessing ceremony

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(VANCOUVER, British Columbia) — On the bright early evening of Feb. 13, against a backdrop of freshly fallen snow on the local mountains, the two new RAstar 3200 escort tugs SST Grizzly and SST Orca for SAAM SMIT Towage Canada Inc. (SST Canada) were the toasts of a blessing ceremony in Vancouver Harbor.

Designed by Robert Allan Ltd. (RAL) and built at Cheoy Lee Shipyards, these two significant additions to the SST Canada fleet were showcased to guests aboard the luxury harbor cruising vessel Pacific Yacht. Distinguished guests for the evening included local First Nations leaders, valued customers and trusted suppliers, financiers, representatives from local marine authorities, class and media.

After boarding the yacht at the Westin Bayshore Hotel, site of the International Tug, Salvage, and OSV Convention (ITS) in 2010, guests were treated to drinks and appetizers while in transit east to the SST Canada dock. After each tug was blessed in a ceremony led by dignitaries from the Squamish First Nation and COSCO Shipping respectively, SST Orca left the dock to display its capabilities. The crew of SST Orca began by demonstrating its maneuverability with its responsive azimuthing stern drive (ASD) propellers, all while keeping the working decks remarkably dry, a testament to the RAstar hull form’s stability and seakeeping characteristics. This was followed by a display of the tug’s FiFi 1 class firefighting system. Having saluted the guests, SST Orca then returned to the dock while the yacht made its way back to the Bayshore.

The ceremony was a chance for many to meet SST Canada’s new president, Sander Bikkers, who entertained as host along with Vice President of Operations Capt. Mark Bingham, Commercial Manager Travis Pow, and colleagues from SST Canada’s organization.

With bollard pulls in excess of 80 tonnes, and the ability to generate indirect escort forces at 10 knots of 82 tonnes in steering, and 130 tonnes in braking, these tugs have already been proving themselves as highly capable platforms in the SST Canada fleet, especially in the context of escort towing. Capable of safely performing all ship-handling and tanker escort roles, SST Grizzly and SST Orca considerably increase the ability of the local tug fleet to handle anticipated increases in vessel traffic through British Columbia’s waters.

For more information on the RAstar 3200 series, or on any other high-performance vessel designs developed by Robert Allan Ltd., contact design@ral.ca.

By Professional Mariner Staff