Mexico’s Astimar 20 shipyard has started building the first four of nine Voith water tractor (VWT) tugs for the country’s petroleum company Pemex (Petróleos Mexicanos).

The tugs will be used at Pemex’s terminals in Madero, Tuxpan and Pajaritos, and on the Pacific coast in the terminal of Pemex Topolobampo.

The new, 32.5m-long and 11m-wide tugs will be powered by Voith Schneider propellers (VSP) and will have a maximum speed of 13k.

Voith Turbo Mexico marine sub-director Karlo Populus said: "Voith Turbo is excited to supply the Voith propulsion system for this project that is important not only to Mexico’s oil and gas industry, but to the Mexicans who will benefit from the jobs created by the project.

"Voith water tractors, utilising the state-of-the-art Voith Schneider propeller, will serve Pemex well."

"These Voith water tractors, utilising the state-of-the-art Voith Schneider propeller, will serve Pemex well and deliver unmatched manoeuvrability, versatility and safety."

Eight of these nine vessels will be equipped with two VSPs providing a power of two x 1,945kW and have a bollard pull of 50t.

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Another 60t bollard pull tug in this series will be powered by two VSP 30R5/250-2 with a total power of 4,800kW.

Currently, there are more than 900 Voith water tractors in operation across 200 ports.

In May 2014, Voith secured an order to deliver the propulsion for these nine tugs. The scope of the delivery included 18 VSPs, 18 turbo couplings, 18 RENK couplings and nine control stands.

Image: Building director Admiral Jose A Sierra (left) and Mexican President Pena Nieto (right). Photo: courtesy of PRNewsFoto / Voith Turbo.