Pacific Towing (PacTow) has expanded its fleet with the purchase of dedicated harbour tug ‘Koranga’ from Singapore. Koranga is scheduled to arrive in Lae in March where she will be permanently stationed to better service the increasing number of large vessels that berth in PNG’s main port. The new tug is one of several tugs purchased as part of PacTow’s re-fleeting program.
Harbour towage is PacTow’s core business. Marine Manager Gerard Kasnari reports that his vessels were involved in excess of 3,000 harbour assists in 2021. Koranga will further increase the company’s harbour towage capacity and thus benefit PNG’s broader transport and logistics sector, the efficiency and effectiveness of which is in part reliant on the quick and safe berthing of vessels.
Originally named ‘Neon’ the newly christened Koranga (named after a Morobe volcano) was purchased for US$2.4 million. She is an Azimuth Stern Drive (ASD) tug, the propulsion system of which makes her more manoeuvrable than conventional tugs. By 2025 when PacTow’s re-fleeting programme is complete, the company will own a total of 11 ASD tugs.
Koranga is one of the largest of PacTow’s tugs. Nearly 30 metres long, she has a bollard pull of 60 tonnes and braking horsepower of 4,436, enabling her to singlehandedly assist almost any vessel requiring harbour towage in PNG.
“We have already purchased other tugs under our re-fleeting programme for the purpose of increasing our salvage and open ocean towage capacity, but Koranga will be used solely for harbour towage” said Kasnari. “Like our other tugs, she will be captained by one of our very experienced PNG Masters and have an expert PNG crew.”
Koranga will journey to PNG from Singapore under the stewardship of a PacTow captain together with a seven-person PNG crew. The voyage is anticipated to take 14 days and will cover approximately 1,800 nautical miles. Koranga will be sailed through the Java and Flores seas, and then through the Torres Strait to Port Moresby where PacTow is headquartered at its dedicated tug base and camp. The new tug will be re-flagged in Port Moresby prior to being despatched to Lae.
Not only will Koranga provide vital harbour towage services, but she will also provide important training opportunities to some of PacTow’s youngest seafarers. Male and female Deck and Engine cadets from the company’s two cadetship programmes (one in partnership with the Australian Government, Swire Shipping and Consort Express Lines) will undertake sea time on the vessel as her crew helps tow, berth and moor hundreds of vessels every year.