Singapore – AST Oceanics Secures Long Term Emergency Towing Contract with Australian Maritime Services.
AST Oceanics secures contract with Australian Maritime Services (AMS), a global leader in navigation aids design, manufacture and maintenance, to provide a vessel in support of the Australian Maritime Safety Agency’s (AMSA) Emergency Towing Capability (ETC) contract.
In July 2013 AST Oceanics was invited by Australian Maritime Services (AMS), a global leader in navigation aids design, manufacture and maintenance, to bid for the Australian Maritime Safety Agency’s (AMSA) Emergency Towing Capability (ETC) contract. AMS was subsequently selected as preferred tenderer for both the Aids to Navigation and ETC contracts by AMSA in November 2013 after a rigorous tender evaluation process. AST Oceanics was then subcontracted by AMS to provide the Emergency Towing Vessel (ETV) component of the ETC involving provision for 10 years of a fully managed 80 tonne bollard pull AHTS, commencing operations on station 01 July 2014.To meet the AMS contractual requirement, Oceanics has chartered from SWISSCO Singapore, their new build vessel SWISSCO EMERALD (which has been renamed CORAL KNIGHT by AMSA) as the ETV for the first two years, during which time Oceanics will build a fully optimised ETV for use in the remaining 8 years of the contract.
AMSA has responsibility under National Maritime Emergency Response Arrangements (NMERA) to provide an appropriate level of Emergency Towage Capability (ETC) around the Australian Coastline. The CORAL KNIGHT is one of the key elements to achieve the NMERA aim to protect the marine environment from actual or potential ship sourced pollution. The CORAL KNIGHT will be available on a 24 hours per day / 7 days a week basis to respond, under the direction of AMSA , to provide assistance and stabilise emergency situations involving any ship that is incapacitated and in danger of grounding in the environmentally sensitive sea areas within the Torres Strait and northern Great Barrier Reef. This “First Strike” response is designed to prevent or minimise the risk of pollution from such an incident. The CORAL KNIGHT’s other “First Strike” responsibilities will include: emergency towage; marine pollution response; search and rescue; salvage assistance; fire fighting; passive ship escort; and providing a shipping platform to AMS for Aids to Navigation Maintenance Services. As the SWISSCO EMERALD, the CORAL KNIGHT was delivered to Singapore from the builders yard in Southern China on 31 January. Since then the vessel has been structurally modified for the ETV role including the installation of a large deck crane and additional bridge navigation equipment; and renamed the CORAL KNIGHT and entered onto the Australian register. The ship will be docked to be repainted in the AMSA livery prior to sailing from Singapore for Australian waters on 01 May. Between sailing from Singapore and assuming ETV duties 01 July 2014, the CORAL KNIGHT crew will work up and be tested in all of the ETV First Strike capabilities. The ETV will be home ported in Cairns, Far North Queensland.