"Success" arrives in the CaspianSilverburn Shipping Group (SSG) has purchased the “Sowena”, one of the first ultra-shallow draft tugs of its type to be operational in the Caspian Sea


The tug, acquired in January this year from Triton Pty, is 36 meter s LOA and able to operate in drafts down to 2.7m. She is also the first unit in the fleet that is none CIS designed.

SSG operates mainly in the Caspian and as a result the ‘Sowena’ had to undergo a conversion to enable the vessel to operate in the ecologically sensitive and shallow drafts around the Agip operated Kashagan field in the northeast Caspian. The vessel also needed to be flexible, have the capacity to handle deck cargo, be self contained with regards to fresh water and sewage treatment and with have a minimum range of 25 days so as to be able to operate worldwide.

To achieve this a hard wood cargo deck and sewage system were fitted in Singapore before sailing and in Tuzla, Turkey where she was dry docked, a 125 t/mt “Copma” Crane, a 75t Brake “Brissoneau & Lotz” winch and a 2 tons per day “Seafresh” fresh water maker. In addition the hull and topsides were repainted with the company’s colours, all accommodation was stripped out and refitted to EU standards with air conditioning and heating system and a number of small but important upgrades to navigation and safety equipment was made.

The ‘Sowena‘, is the largest single investment made so far by the Isle of Man based company, SSG intends to spend 30m over the next three years replacing, refurbishing and adding to the fleet.

As oil companies expect further exploration and development in the future around the Caspian, demand for this type of tonnage will increase. SSG’s development programme will enable them to meet this growing need.

Founded in 1994 with one tug and a barge, SSG now operates 41 tugs, barges and icebreakers, 24 of which are fully owned. With offices in London, Moscow and Astrakhan, SSG is the largest fully independent privately owned tug and barge operator working in the CIS.

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