Among them is the Richards Bay tug Uzavolo - the former RH Tarpey - a Voith Schneider-propelled tug built in 1974 at the James Brown & Hamer shipyard here in Durban.
Two former Saldanha tugs are also on auction. One is the 1977-built Meeuw, also using Voith Schneider propulsion. The second Saldanha-based tug is Marcus, built in 1976 and like the others using Voith Schneider propulsion, which is slowly becoming standard in TNPA practice. It appears this tug was sold for an unknown figure.
The fourth harbour tug is a former Cape Town tug now based in Port Elizabeth, where she has been deployed for several years. The tug’s name is Shiraz, the ex-Ben Schoemen, renamed in the mid 1990s for one of the Cape’s well-known wine cultivars. Shiraz was built in 1980.
Among the smaller vessels on the auction was the Saldanha-based single- engined diesel harbour launch Sysie, which appears to have been sold.
In Durban one of the older harbour dredgers was included but went unsold.
The online marine auction was being held together with that of a large number of railway items, from locomotives and wagons to spares. Quite a few of these were sold, but the marine items did not attract a lot of attention.
Two abandoned fishing boats were on offer at the port of Mossel Bay, as well as three pilot boats based at Saldanha and Cape Town.
The port of Richards Bay was reportedly without a pilot service recently - one of these properly maintained could have saved the day.
The sale of the roughly 40-year old tugs is made possible by the rolling out of eight new harbour tugs built in Durban at South African Shipyards over the past few years. These tugs have been distributed among the ports as needed.
A ninth tug, supposedly intended for Saldanha, remains unfinished at the shipyard apparently due to an ongoing dispute between TNPA and the yard.