Pacific Towing (PacTow) is celebrating the return of its tug ‘Waiowa’ to the water.  One of PacTow’s 12 tugs, Waiowa is back at work following an engine replacement.  Predominantly used for open ocean towage and salvage projects, Waiowa has already been utilised on three projects since rejoining the PacTow fleet.

Waiowa is a 35-metre-long Azimuth Stern Drive (ASD) tug with a 57-tonne bollard pull and 4,300 brake horsepower. Although her home base is PacTow’s headquarters in Port Moresby, Waiowa will be deployed throughout PNG and Melanesia, as well as further afield in Southeast Asia and Oceania as required.  With large fuel and water tanks, as well as sizeable accommodation she has considerable open ocean capacity, making her ideal for a range of salvage, emergency response, and long-distance towage projects.

PacTow’s in-house workshop, maintenance, and engineering teams installed the Waiowa’s new engine, which was sourced from India with the assistance of Australia Pacific Maritime Pty Ltd.  General Manager Neil Papenfus confirmed that COVID-19 supply chain challenges delayed the engine’s replacement, but that Waiowa is “in class with Lloyd’s Register, fully operational, and very much as good as new.”

The Waiowa’s engine replacement was a multi-stage endeavour.  First, the old engine was stripped of all ‘bolt on’ items while still inside the Waiowa.  Dry docked at PNG Dock Yards, the side of the hull was cut open (approximately 2.2m high x 1.5m wide) so that the old engine main tablature could be removed.

Installation of the Waiowa’s new 19.7 tonne engine was performed by PacTow’s in-house workshop, maintenance, and engineering teams.

The new engine, weighing just under 20 tonnes, was hoisted onto a structure of purpose-fabricated rails so that it could be ‘rolled’ through the hole cut in the hull in to the Waiowa’s engine room.  Once inside, the engine was again hoisted up and then rotated 90 degrees so that it would align with the gearbox.

The hull was then welded back up and vacuum tested before being removed from docking and put back in the water.  The PacTow team then worked on re-assembling the ‘modified standalone’ starboard lube oil system, cooling water mechanisms, sea water pipework, electrics etc.

Papenfus said that the installation of the Waiowa’s new 19.7-tonne engine required “engineering excellence, innovation, and lots of teamwork” and that “PacTow is in the fortunate position of having its own in-house expertise and capacity to conduct major maintenance projects on our fleet.”  In-house capacity has never been more valuable to PNG businesses than in the last two years when it has been next to impossible to get specialist technicians into the country and when international supply chains are so unreliable.

Pacific Towing’s ASD tug ‘Waiowa’ assisting Singapore flagged oil tanker ‘Crescent River’ in Port Moresby.

PacTow delivers excellent, reliable, and safe marine services through PNG and the broader Pacific. A well-maintained fleet, as well as a dedicated and exceptionally trained team, underpin PacTow’s ongoing expansion and success. PacTow is part of a larger sea and land logistics group wholly owned by Steamships Limited.  To learn more about PacTow: