BHP Billiton has taken delivery of two escort tugs to support its iron ore operations in Western Australia. Iron Kestrel and Iron Corella have commenced operations in Port Hedland after being delivered by ASL Shipyards in Singapore.
These are RAstar 85-class escort tugs designed by Robert Allan Ltd. The 35m tugs will escort bulk carriers in and out of Port Hedland. Robert Allan said they were custom designed and built to meet the formidable environmental conditions and demanding operational requirements of this busy bulk commodity port.
The conditions the tugs need to operate in include strong currents in a narrow channel, high levels of airborne ore dust, 3m significant wave height and 35 knot wind speed. There are long escort distances through exposed water, which puts further demands on the equipment and tug operators.
Robert Allan used computational fluid dynamics to analyse the RAstar hull form to enhance the escort towing and seakeeping performance of these tugs. ASL Shipyards is building four more RAstar 85 escort tugs for BHP’s Port Hedland operations.