Abu Dhabi Ports’ marine services subsidiary Abu Dhabi Marine Services (Safeen) has placed an order with Damen Shipyards Group to buy two new tugboats.

The Damen ASD 2411 tugboats will be used to support the AED10bn ($2.8bn) expansion of Abu Dhabi Ports’ deep-water port facility, Khalifa Port.

Scheduled to be delivered over the next three months, the tugboats will join Safeen’s current fleet of 12 harbour tugs.

The tugboats will be deployed to help in vessel movements at Khalifa Port’s two container terminals managed by ADT and COSCO Shipping Port (CSPL). They will also serve Emirates Global Aluminium’s (EGA) berth for Bauxite at Al Taweelah, Khalifa Port.

Damen ASD 2411 tugboats are designed to handle the world’s largest 400m container vessels with a 20,000 twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) capacity.

“We recognise the importance of equipping our ports with the right equipment and logistics to adapt to these changing demands.”

Safeen acting chief marine services officer Adil Ahmed Banihammad said: “The extension of our fleet at Khalifa Port with two high-service tugboats is a remarkable milestone for Safeen to address customers’ needs professionally as well as for Khalifa Port, which will be the first port in the GCC able to receive the largest container and shipping vessels in the world.

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“The average size of a vessel has grown by 65% due to economies of scale and we recognise the importance of equipping our ports with the right equipment and logistics to adapt to these changing demands.”

Safeen currently employs more than 200 people to operate a modern fleet and provide cost-effective marine and ancillary quayside services to all vessels visiting seaports At UAE.

In August 2016, Abu Dhabi Ports unveiled an expansion plan for the Khalifa Port in order to handle more cargo.