Posted on July 10, 2023
South Africa’s Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) recently took delivery of a new tug built locally by Damen Shipyards Cape Town. Named Mohoma after the translation of “to plough” in the native South African Sesotho language, the tug will be capable of both general towing and dredging, thanks to the installation of seabed leveling equipment for use in inner port waters.
As a plough tug, the newbuild will be used as a bed leveler to smooth out elevated bottom spots created by vessel traffic in high-volume berth areas. The tug will complement the work of dredgers, which are the ones primarily responsible for maintaining or increasing the depth of navigation channels, anchorages, and berthing areas to ensure the safe passage of all vessels in a port’s waters.
The purchase of Mohoma is part of TNPA’s ongoing fleet modernisation program, which is aimed at expanding port capacity to accommodate larger vessels and meet growing demand, particularly for additional berthing capacity. Specifically, the new tug replaces the TNPA’s existing plough tug Impisi, which had been in operation for over 50 years. Whereas Impisi had been confined to the Port of Durban due to its limited availability, Mohoma was built to be deployed at all ports throughout the country.
Mohoma has all-steel construction, a length of 33 metres, a beam of nine metres, a draught of three metres, a deadweight of 215, and a bollard pull of 45 tonnes. Ploughing can be performed at depths of up to 25 metres.
Netherlands-based the Damen Shipyards Group said the tug is well-suited to various maritime tasks, operating efficiently in shallow and deeper waters with unrestricted sailing capability. Construction of the vessel was undertaken with ease of maintenance in mind, resulting in an optimal layout that will allow key components to be readily serviced or replaced.
The tug’s other duties will include harbour maintenance as well as buoy and anchor handling.