Hessle towage firm expands with deal to operate at major UK port

By Hull Daily Mail | Posted: 18 Dec 2017

Hessle-based tow boat firm SMS Towage has expanded after securing a dedicated service for commercial ships at a major UK port.

Portsmouth International Port has launched the dedicated service with SMS, the UK’s largest independent tugboat operator.

The firm, which was established in Hessle by Paul Escreet in 2003, will have a fleet of two tugboats on standby at the port and available to ships sailing in at as little as an hour’s notice.

It marks a further expansion for the company which already services the Hull and Humber ports, Bristol Channel and Belfast harbour.

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

As the Hull firm appoints its crew it is expected to create another ten jobs.

The two tugs operating at the port are the Irishman and Guardsman, both 40 tonne bollard pull vessels.

Gareth Escreet, director at SMS Towage, says the “expansion” will lead to extra recruitment, describing it as an exciting time for the firm.

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He said: “Our expansion onto to the south coast is an exciting time for our business and we will be looking to recruit additional dedicated crew to help provide the new service who will be trained to operate in the waters around Portsmouth.

“We pride ourselves on providing one of the most responsive services in the business and this has been a key factor in enabling us to grow.

“We are fully committed to our entry into Portsmouth and are confident that it will prove successful for both our company and the port.”

The SMS Guardsman boat in Portsmouth

SMS, which is headquartered in Hessle, was established in 2003 and employs 140 people.

The new service provided by the East Yorkshire company is intended to build on strategy of growth and attract new sectors according to the port and MMD shipping.

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Rupert Taylor, Portsmouth International Port's harbour master, said: "We're very pleased that our customers will now have a dedicated towage service when using the port. It enables us to provide greater resources for commercial shipping companies.

"SMS Towage will be permanently based here so customers can be assured of a reliable and quick operation.

"We’re looking forward to working with SMS and their expansion into Portsmouth is a welcome boost for the city's maritime industry.”

Last month the firm unveiled its £5.8 newly-built towing vessel Superman, as it expanded its UK fleet of boats to 15.

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