SVITZER Australia will provide four tugboats and a pilot vessel to assist export shipments from the Chevron-operated Wheatstone LNG terminal, under marine services contract valued at about $650 million.

The company agreed to provide the four 33 metre long, 80 tonne bollard-pull tugs to the project after signing the deal in December last year.

In a company update, Svitzer said the tugs would be built at the ASL Shipyard in Singapore, while the pilot boat would be put together at Hart Marine’s facility on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula.

News of the Wheatstone contract preceded the completion of the first of Svitzer’s tugs designed for the Gorgon project, the Svitzer Euro, which was hoisted off scaffolding at the ASL Shipyard in Singapore for final fit out in March.

Company head of group newbuilding Esben H. Grundtvig said the Wheatstone vessels would share a number of characteristics with the Gorgon vessels – especially given that they are to be built at the same shipyard.

“In addition to the engine modification, we’re also able to make improvements wherever possible – so we’re not just building a copy of the Gorgon tugs, but an improved version,” he said.

“On the other hand, the overall similarity of design minimises the number of drawings that have to be reapproved, which streamlines the project, as does the good working relationship we’ve established with ASL.”

Crewed by Australian mariners, the Azimuth Stern Drive vessels designed for the Wheatstone project will use diesel electric engines while carrying out work.

“This means the batteries in the hybrid Gorgon vessels will be replaced by an engine, giving the tugs the additional power required by the customer,” Svitzer wrote.

The tugs will be designed with non-hydraulic deck equipment to ensure no oil or liquid spillage, double-walled fuel tanks to prevent leakage, and solar panels for water heating among other measures.

They will also have LNG alarms, remote closing fire flaps, a dynamic escort winch with the capability to release the line under full towing conditions and side pocket ladder systems.

Svitzer said the Wheatstone vessels were to be delivered to it from June through to September 2016, and would be put into service in November or December of that year.