Vessels to back LNG projects

Three tug and barge sets will be supporting the Papua LNG projects.

This is an investment from the Steamships’ logistics division, which is valued at more than K80 million (approximately USD21 million).

These tugs and barges have been transferred into the Papua New Guinean flag, expanding the availability of high quality locally owned marine assets available to LNG operators and their subcontractors. 

‘MV Yelia’, ‘MV Aird Hills’ and the two barges, ‘CEL 501’ and ‘CEL 502’, are already in country and operating for TotalEnergies and others. The third tug and barge set, ‘MV Lolo’ and ‘CEL 202’, is due to arrive by the end of December 2023.

All tugs are equipped with cranes to support the operating capacity of the barges and ensure maximum trading versatility. Furthermore, the tugs are equipped with conventional twin screw propellors and bow thrusters and the vessels are ideally suited to shallow water operations. Each barge is equipped with a powerful bow ramp which allows for easy roll-on/roll-off (RORO) loading of various cargoes.

“Steamships’ investment in modernising and expanding its tug and barge fleet, supports our vision to be the partner of choice for the Papua LNG project, which we believe will help drive the country's economic development well into the future,” said Steamships’ Chief Operating Officer, Chris Daniells.

Steamships secured a TotalEnergies contract for a tug and barge set earlier this year.  Commencing operations in October 2023, ‘MV Yelia’ and ‘CEL 502’ have successfully completed two voyages up the Purari River, transporting 1,500-2,000 tonnes of aggregates from Port Moresby to Herd Base on each sailing. She is currently undertaking her third voyage.

Meanwhile, ‘MV Aird Hills’ is also operating on the Purari River and is helping with berthing of all project barges, standby for safety as well as assisting with downstream transits.

“Conditions on the river continue to be challenging due to strong currents during heavy rainfall and shallow water during dry periods. All stakeholders are working well together to ensure operations run smoothly and more importantly, safely,” said Daymon Pnematicatos, General Manager – Projects, Steamships Logistics Division.

Steamships has focused on ensuring that the benefits of Papua LNG are felt throughout PNG.  A key pillar to this approach is Gulf Maritime Services (GMS), a joint-venture formed in June 2023 between Steamships, GFS and the Gulf Provincial Government. GMS will contribute to the economic development of Gulf through hiring and training maritime cadets from Gulf Province. Furthermore, GMS has pledged support to Community Grants Projects in health and education. 

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