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The Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) has commissioned two new tugboats to boost its fleet and improve vessel turnaround time at the port.
The Azimuth Stern Drive (ASD) high-performance tugboats, each weighing 80 tonnes, are equipped with modern navigation technology, which officials said would boost port operations and also enhance safety and environmental efficiency.
Sourced from Damen Shipyards in Vietnam and powered by twin diesel engines, the boats provide a free-running speed typically 12 to 15 nautical miles per hour and offer escort for bigger vessels with a cargo capacity of 5,000 to 14,000 Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units (TEUs).
Tugboats are marine vessels specifically designed to guide larger vessels to their berths.
They also serve as vital players in emergency response and pollution control, ensuring the safety of the port.
They are equipped with firefighting systems, including pumps, monitors and firefighting foam, allowing them to respond to emergencies at sea.
They are also fitted with advanced technology with integrated navigation and communication systems, close circuit television (CCTV) and remote-control capabilities.
The tugboats were named after Group Capt Edward Alexander Awuviri (retd), the first Director-General of the authority who supervised the 1986 merger of the Ghana Ports Authority, the Ghana Cargo Holding Company and the Takoradi Literage Company.
The other is named after Nestor Percy Galley, who also served as Director-General from March 2009 to February 2012.
A Deputy Minister of Transport, Alhassah Tampuli, said acquisition of the tugboats had become necessary to secure the movement of larger vessels that were hosted at the MPS Terminal Three facility.
He said the infrastructure investments at the ports were strategic to drive growth, guarantee safety and solidify the country’s regional maritime prominence.
The Director-General of GPHA, Michael Luguje, said the ports continued to receive large container vessels and dry bulk which required advanced equipment.
He said the GPHA was investing heavily in cutting-edge equipment and personnel “and I am proud to say that these new tugboats are the first of their kind in any of the ports in the region, further showcasing our ambition to lead trade growth”, Mr Luguje said
The Chairman of the Board of Directors of GPHA, Isaac Osei, added that the “tugboats are not just vessels, but a testament to our unwavering dedication to positioning our ports as the preferred choice for regional trade”.