Hessle towage company unveils £5.8m tugboat 'Superman'

By Hull Daily Mail | Posted: 8 Nov 2017

The most powerful tugboat on the Humber has been unveiled at a naming ceremony at Hull’s Albert Dock.

SMS Towage’s newly built £5.8m vessel Superman was christened at the ceremony today after being delivered from the Sanmar shipyard, near Istanbul.

The boat will be one of the company’s most powerful, expanding its UK fleet to 15.

The Hessle-based firm, which is the UK's largest independent tugboat operator, now has seven Sanmar-built tugs working on the Humber and other UK ports.

READ MORE: SMS Towage invests in new Humber tug

SMS' Towage's new vessel, Superman, at Albert Dock, Hull

With twin Caterpillar engines, producing 4,200 Kw of power and generating 72 tonnes bollard pull, Superman will go into service on the south bank of the Humber to meet growing demand in the tanker and bulk carrier sector.

Director, Gareth Escreet, said the acquisition was in line with the company's invest and renew programme, enabling it to maintain a modern fleet, as well as reflecting the strength of the Humber economy.

“Today shows a significant investment we have made,” he said. “She is the most powerful tug in the river and really helps provide us with the necessary equipment for our work around Hull and Immingham.

“It’s a good statement for a smaller, independent towage company like ourselves to be making. We are proud to be a local, family run business and a lot of our business is still focused in the region.

Pictured is the ceremony by Rev Neal Barnes, with left Amanda Pannett and Paul Escreet, at Albert Dock, Hull

“It’s an industry heavily monopolised by the global players so it is great for a family company to make this sort of statement.

The firm was started by Gareth’s father Paul 14 years ago, and the Director says the Humber region has been kind to the firm and help them to expand in recent years.

He said: “We are only a relatively young company and have been able to progress and expand recently. The Humber ports have been busy and has allowed this investment to happen.

READ MORE: The Full Monty: Humber’s port opportunities to be bared to the steel city

The Humber estuary has always been our main base but it is fantastic for us to be working in Belfast and Bristol as well. The Humber has been very kind to us, and we are fortunate to be incredibly busy here at the moment.

“We still say that the Humber will continue to be the jewel in the crown in the industry. The region is strong at the minute and we don’t see Brexit as being a huge risk to the needs of the country now.”

People attending the naming ceremony at Albert Dock

Chairman Paul Escreet said: "The previous Superman is now with new owners in Murmansk who were so impressed with her name that they asked if they could retain it.

"The new Superman is chunkier, giving extra room on board for the crew and she is very manoeuvrable. She is destined for Immingham and other south bank jetties.

"The first Superman to sail on the Humber was in 1923, many years before the comic book hero's arrival on the scene.”

READ MORE: 'Small businesses must not be forgotten' says Hull MP at reopening of business centre

The company has also announced that is expanding operations further, with two tug boats set to launch in Portsmouth.

As well as the Humber estuary, the firm also has vessels working on the Bristol Channel and Belfast Harbour.

Rev Neal Barnes, Amanda Pannett and Paul Escreet aboard the new vessel

She was blessed by The Rev Canon Dr Neil Barnes, vicar of Hull Minster, who carried out his fifth naming ceremony for the towage company, which was founded in 2003.

The vessel was officially named by Amanda Pannett, wife of master mariner Phil Pannett, who spent 11 years with ABP Ports on the Humber.

SMS's other Sanmar-built boats are the Statesman, Scotsman, Yorkshireman, Masterman, Englishman and Merchantman.

READ MORE: Today's main headlines from Humberbusiness.com 

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