Quick action and skill by Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) marine crew at the Port of Port Elizabeth assisted to ensure the successful safeguarding of a vessel that was about to be blown adrift from the quayside during gale force winds on Friday, 7 September.
The vehicle carrier MV GLOVIS CHORUS was berthed at Berth 100 in the port when sudden gusts of between 25 to 40 knots (approximately 80km/hour) occurred. The nearly 200 m long, 55 729 ton ship was blown metres off the quayside as a result of the Northerly winds. The vessel master called Port Control for assistance as he was afraid that the vessel would become adrift. There were 23 crewman on board.
The Vessel Traffic Controllers on duty – Patrick Mgudlandlu and Vuyo Seti – quickly deployed a Marine Pilot and two of its new tugs to secure and stabilise the vessel safely alongside. The operation took approximately 2 hours and was led by Marine Pilot Andrew Ker-Fox, supported by Tug Masters Desmond Basson and Morwe Share.
The Port of PE Port Manager Rajesh Dana said: “All necessary safety protocols have been activated to ensure that all vessels in the port were safe during the adverse weather.”
The port’s powerful new tugs QUNU and MVEZO, which were instrumental in securing the stricken vessel, have a bollard pull of 70 tons and Voith Schneider propulsion which makes them highly manoeuvrable and able to change direction and thrust almost instantaneously while guiding large vessels in and out of the port limits.
They were the first to be delivered from a R1.4 billion order of nine tugs built for TNPA by Durban-based ship builder Southern African Shipyards in the largest contract ever awarded to a South African
company for the building of Transnet harbour craft.
Dana added: “This was an operation carried out quickly and efficiently thanks to the capability of our marine operations, both in terms of the fleet and the skill of the Marine Pilot and tug crews. Well done to the TNPA employees involved in this successful operation.”
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