Designed to be used on inland waterways, the two NavTug 18TS tugs suit the requirements for working on the River Thames. They can push as well as tow and are adaptable to work with both low and high tides. They have a system that allows the wheel house to be raised and lowered to ensure clear visibility at all times.
The vessels made their maiden voyage this week when site cabins were sailed 27.3 nautical miles up the River Thames from Tilbury Docks to the main drive site for Tideway West at Carnwath Road in Wandsworth, which will be used for the site office set up.
BMB has a £416m contract to build the 7km-long west section of the Thames Tideway Tunnel between Acton Storm Tanks in Ealing and Wandsworth.
The tugs will be used to haul barges up and down the Thames carrying materials to the work sites and assisting with the removal of spoil from the tunnel excavation, thus reducing lorry movements on London roads.
BMB project director Chris Hughes said: “Our new tugs were chosen for their compatibility with the unique River Thames environment, and their high specification in terms of noise attenuation and emissions. The investment made by the joint venture in purchasing these tugs demonstrates our commitment to delivering innovative sustainable transport solutions for this unique project.”
The tugs are crewed by boat masters from marine subcontractor Bennetts Barges but will also be used to support in-house training to develop the next generation of boat masters and senior mates for the River Thames.