The Port of Milford Haven and Svitzer have run emergency response exercises involving tugs and an LNG carrier on a new simulator in the Welsh port.

The Port of Milford Haven in south west Wales, which oversees marine operations at the South Hook and Dragon LNG terminals, has invested in training and emergency response. It has opened a tug training facility to improve port and terminal operations and conducted emergency exercises with tug operator Svitzer using simulation.

This follows an accident last year involving pilot vessel St Davids, which suffered damage and caused injury to crew when it collided with 2009-built Q-max LNG carrier Lijmiliya in 2016. Svitzer operates tugs in Milford Haven, including Svitzer Ramsey, Svitzer Caldey and Svitzer Waterston. It provides escort duties and line handling for LNG carriers visiting the LNG terminals.

According to port authority chief executive Alec Don, the St Davids incident was one of the reasons for investing in a marine navigation simulator suite that includes tug controls, bridge and programs. “This is a state-of-the-art facility for our own competent pilots [and tug crews] and is being marketed to attract marine professionals from across the UK,” he said in the annual report.

He added: “Safety is a core value throughout the port. We work hard within the business to assess risk using carefully planned operating procedures to deliver a safe port. This is particularly the case in our marine operations.” He said recommendations from an investigation into the St Davids incident will be incorporated into the port’s procedures. “Every effort is made to learn lessons across the organisation from incidents that have occurred and from near misses,” he said.

At the end of 2016, an exercise was carried out using the simulator suite to practice an emergency involving an LNG carrier. This involved staff from tug operator Svitzer, pilots, vessel traffic services and management from South Hook LNG, Dragon LNG and Shell International Trading and Shipping.

Port management and a representative from the UK Government’s maritime salvage and intervention team were present. Port of Milford Haven said the exercise was a success and response strategies and procedures will be adopted as a result of the outcome.

Uzmar sells terminal tugs in Venezuela

Uzmar Workboat and Tug Factory of Turkey has built two 25m tugs and sold them for tanker terminal operations in Venezuela, The two 10m wide tugs were sold to Offshore Engineering Development Co (IOED), an affiliate of the state oil company PDVSA to escort tankers around an oil terminal.

Uzmar built these tugs on a speculative basis with Caterpillar 3512C engines and Schottel fixed pitch propellers. They achieved 60 tonnes of bollard pull during sea trials. The tugs have dedicated equipment independent from the main drives to provide fire-fighting operations and a combined anchor towing winch provided by Ibercisa. Uzmar deputy general manager Mutlu Altug said this is the seventh tug the shipbuilder has supplied to IOED. He added: “We will not limit our relations as a tugboat provider only, as we will be their strategic partner and they will have our lifetime support.”