Saam Smit Towage has ordered a new ASD (Azimuth Stern Drive) 2411 tug from Damen Shipyards, for operations in the port of Colón, Panama. Built for stock at Damen Song Cam Shipyard in Vietnam, it was subsequently transported to the Netherlands for finishing. With the agreement in place the new vessel, named the SST Portobelo, is now underway to join the 11-strong Saam Smit tug fleet in Panama.
The SST Portobelo is the first ASD 2411 for Saam Smit in Panama. In October 2015, the company placed an order for an ASD Tug 2913, named the SST Rambala, which was delivered in May 2016. With 80 tonnes of bollard pull, she is ideal for assisting vessels through the expanded Panama Canal. The new ASD 2411 is smaller, but still has 70 tonnes of bollard pull and is exceptionally manoeuvrable. Recently Saam Smit ordered two ASD 2411 tugs for their operations in Brazil.
As part of the contract, Saam Smit Panama will be trading in an older tug from their fleet in part exchange for the new vessel. The Damen Group offers this service through its subsidiary Damen Trading, which provides both chartering and brokerage services. The second-hand vessel will be refurbished and offered for sale worldwide.
Damen Sales Manager Magiel Venema states: “We are proud that Saam Smit came back to us for another new vessel and we are confident that the SST Portobelo will prove to be a reliable vessel, ideal for conditions in Panama. Damen’s excellent after-sales service will be available to keep her performing at her best, supported by the new Damen Shipyards Curaçao just a short distance away.”
The former Curaçao Drydock Company was taken over by Damen Shiprepair & Conversion on the 2nd of February 2017 and provides a full range of services from facilities that include two large drydocks as well as 2,000 metres of repair quays outfitted with 13 cranes.
Saam Smit’s general manager in Panama, Walter van der Dussen, commented: “The speed of delivery of the SST Portobelo was a significant factor in awarding the contact to Damen. Having a second, similar vessel alongside our existing Damen tug also adds a certain standardisation that helps us sustain the quality of our service delivery to our customers. Lastly, replacing a 55 with a 70 tonnes bollard pull tug fits in well with the Saam Smit Towage Panama strategy of serving its customers with the right tugs, especially in view of the trend of larger vessels sailing into the Panama terminals.”