THERE’S MORE TO THE STORY
The field trial plan was to outfit two tugs the first year and compare them to the historical data for the jacketed lines they had been using. Typical retirement for the jacketed lines was 1,200 tows, with jacket failure being the main cause of retirement.
So far, the Fusion-12 lines have performed 2,500 to 3,000 tows and counting.
Since receiving the initial results of the field trial, two more London fleet tugs have been retrofitted, with two more on schedule after that.
Vimal Choy, fleet optimization manager at Svitzer, who has been key in spearheading the adoption and continued partnership commented: “We work very closely with Samson. I receive regular inspection reports on the condition of the ropes. The after-sale
support is exemplary and Samson has shown genuine desire to improve our operations. Samson and Svitzer have similar values and it is a pleasure to continue to develop the strength of our partnership.”
One of the first differences noted by the crew was that the new lines allow more rope on the winch drum compared to the previously used polyester rope. Since Fusion-12 lays more neatly on the winch drum, it takes up less room. This allows for longer line
lengths, if required.
Svitzer Warden’s tugmaster, Adrian Hopkins, who has 30 years of tug experience, can attest to the impact the new ropes are making on a daily basis. “With Fusion-12, you just get that confident feeling,” he said. “There’s
no creaking or banging with it (like jacketed lines)—you just feel confident. When the pilot calls for full power, you can put the levers down knowing the rope will hold up.”
More importantly, the crews have happily accepted the Fusion-12 rope. “The rope doesn’t bury (dive) on the winch—if it does, it is easily rectified; it often just pulls out,” Hopkins explained. “The crew doesn’t have
to haul out stoppers to pull out buried turns. The crews are all very impressed with it.”
Looking beyond the number of tows and operational efficiencies, there are shared values when it comes to safety culture. Like Samson, Svitzer considers safety of operations to be of utmost priority. When handling heavy, large-diameter, traditional fiber
ropes, back strain is a constant problem. Lighter-weight, stronger, and more flexible lines are easier to handle and result in fewer injuries. “We will not cut corners where safety is concerned,” Choy said.