Sullom Voe Port Sells Its Troubled Tugs

Shetland Islands Council has signed a deal to sell its troubled tug Solan, operated by Sullom Voe Harbour Authority, to a towage company Panfido, based in Venice, Italy.

The council added that the tug, which used to provide towage services at the Port of Sullom Voe, will now be used in the port of Naples.

Panfido is also moving ahead on purchasing Solan’s sister vessel, Bonxie, which is expected to leave Shetland in February.

The vessels were delivered to Sullom Voe four years ago, but encountered a number of issues during their time in the port, including steering glitches.

Their steering problems were eventually resolved, however, after the council decided to switch to a four-tug operation using smaller vessels, the Solan and Bonxie became surplus and were put on the market.

“I am extremely pleased that we have reached agreement on the sale of the Solan and Bonxie. They were commissioned at a time when business at the port was very different, and they have posed problems for us in the past.

“I am satisfied that we have managed to secure the best possible return for these two vessels, especially given the downturn we are currently witnessing in the oil and gas industry,” Andrea Manson chairs the SIC’s Harbour Board, said.

“The life extension to the port of Sullom Voe means we need to review future infrastructure requirements to support the oil industry’s anticipated business going forward. The council is also considering the most appropriate future operational model for the port’s activities in response to this changed business environment,” Maggie Sandison, Director of Infrastructure Services, said.

The council did not disclose the purchase price of the two vessels.