‘PNG Company Increases Ocean Towage Services’

Pacific Towing towed a replacement 250m oil transfer hose from Port Moresby to an offshore export terminal in the Gulf of Papua in February as part of the terminal’s scheduled routine maintenance. Pacific Towing also towed the replaced transfer hose back to Port Moresby.

Pacific Towing (PacTow) is increasingly performing ocean towages, including outside of its home country of Papua New Guinea and broader Melanesia.  Recent months have seen the marine services company perform two towage projects from Northern Australia and another for an oil and gas major in the Gulf of Papua.  PacTow anticipates further growth in ocean towage services as barges and vessels, as well as heavy plant and equipment are sourced internationally for the imminent construction phase of PNG’s next LNG project.

PacTow is a PNG business in its 46th year of operation.  Employing in excess of 200 staff, the company operates out of PNG’s five main ports as well as in Honiara, Solomon Islands.  Although harbour towage represents approximately 70 percent of its business, PacTow also provides a range of niche services to the oil and gas sector and is Melanesia’s leading salvage operator.

General Manager Neil Papenfus reports that PacTow has provided international towage services for at least two decades but that these have increased in frequency over the last five years.  Two significant projects were the 2019 towage of a stranded barge from Micronesia to Indonesia, as well as the 2020 tandem towage of a vessel and barge from American waters in Guam.

Papenfus says that PacTow has increased its capacity to perform long distance ocean tows and that this is “primarily due to the company’s refleeting programme” which it embarked upon in 2020.  The company’s 20-vessel fleet has been modernised and more than half of its tugs are Azimuth Stern Drive (ASD) tugs.  Several vessels in PacTow’s fleet are also specialised ‘blue water’ tugs ideally suited to long distance tows, including multi-week projects such as international tows and salvages.

The company’s diverse fleet and experienced crews have the capacity to tow a wide range of vessels and even ‘items’ as evident by its first three ocean tows for 2023.

MonthFrom – ToDistanceProject Item
JanuaryDarwin to Port Moresby  980nmBarge 83m x 25m
FebruaryPort Moresby to Gulf of Papua Offshore Oil Export Terminal180nmOil transfer hose 250m long and 40cm diameter ‘flexi hose’
AprilCairns to Port Moresby520nmTugboat 37m long x 14m wide; 667 GRT & 378 DWT

PacTow delivers excellent, reliable, and safe marine services through PNG and the broader region. A well-maintained fleet, as well as a dedicated and exceptionally trained team underpin the company’s ongoing expansion and success. PacTow is part of a larger sea and land logistics group wholly owned by Steamships Limited.  To learn more about PacTow:  www.pacifictowingmarineservices.com.

For additional information, please contact:

  • Neil Papenfus: (675) 7200 1107
  • Linda Van Leeuwen: (61) 407994890