Two new tug boats arrived in Bermuda this weekend to replace Powerful and Faithful  at the Department of Marine & Ports.

According to a Government spokesperson, the two new tugs are “fuel-efficient ‘Damen ASD 2811 Azimuth Stern Drive’ tugs”.

“The old Bermuda tugs are 31 and 32 years old, respectively, and do not have the power or the manoeuvrability essential for assisting modern cruise ships, car ships, and tankers visiting Bermuda.

“The Damen tugs were built at the Song Cam Shipyard in Vietnam and are Lloyd’s certified and will be registered in Bermuda.

“Both tugs were loaded on board a special heavy lift ship last month,” the spokesperson added.

“Each tug is fully equipped to meet international standards, and will be ready to operate once all the required training and Bermuda sea trials are completed.

““A Damen Tug Specialist team will work with the Department of Marine & Ports team to familiarise the crew with the special features of the tugs, and provide training associated with towing, mooring of ships, firefighting, and oil pollution control systems.”

It was also noted that the Ministry of Transport “successfully negotiated an extension to Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings’ (NCLH) berthing agreement” last year through to 2028.

“Included in the agreement is a berthing rights fee of fifteen million dollars. These funds were put towards the purchase of two new tractor tugs to assist not only NCL ships but all ships servicing Bermuda.”

Newly appointed Minister of Transport, Neville Tyrell acknowledged “the generous support of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings to Bermuda over the years”.

He also thanked Mr Frank J Del Rio, President and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd.; Mr Howard Sherman, EVP Onboard Revenue and Destination Services; and, Mr Steve Moeller, Senior Vice President of Commercial Development, “for their sincere commitment to Bermuda”.

“We recognise this substantial contribution was made prior to COVID-19, at a time when Bermuda was in need of two new tugs,” said Mr Tyrell.

Rudy Cann, the Director of Marine & Ports Services also stated that “this generous support from NCL allowed Marine & Ports to order the tugs in January 2020 and, despite these unprecedented times, the tugs were built ahead of schedule and will be delivered to Bermuda within a nine-month timeframe from the placement of the order, and we are truly grateful”.

“We are immensely pleased to renew, yet again, our historic, time-tested partnership with Bermuda that goes back to the early 1990s,” said Howard Sherman, EVP Onboard Revenue and Destination Services for Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings,” he said.

“It is of special note that we are able to renew this friendship in these very difficult times for the entire globe. We are especially grateful to the Minister of Transport, the Hon. Neville S. Tyrrell JP, MP, for his leadership and guidance.

“We are gratified that the two new fuel-efficient tugs that are being provided, will serve both to replace the 30+-year-old tugs currently in service, and will represent a step forward environmentally.”