STORY Commercial Marine

Halfway round the world in 55 days

Posted on November 10, 2020 by Kerstin Hansmann, Images by Bogazici Shipyard

The tugboat 'Cyathea' is undertaking a bold adventure: It is traveling over 10000 nautical miles from Istanbul to its new South Pacific home in Nouméa, New Caledonia.

The English gentleman Phileas Fogg once bet that he and his manservant Passepartout could go around the world in 80 days (115,000 minutes) – and won. The tugboat  Cyathea  is undertaking a similarly bold adventure, traveling from the yard that built it in Istanbul, and arriving 55 days (and around 1,000 operating hours) later in its new South Pacific home in Nouméa, New Caledonia. The more than 10,000 nautical miles are taking it through the Suez Canal, across the Indian Ocean and finally past Australia to New Caledonia.

It may have no servants aboard, but there is a crew of five: two skippers, two engineers and a cook. This is anything but a South Sea cruise, indeed it's a tough test of seamanship, with each skipper-and-engineer team taking alternate watches night and day while the other duo rests. They plan to make landfall only once in Singapor to replenish supplies of diesel and food.

But the five are not entirely on their own, with service staff from Rolls-Royce Power Systems keeping an eye on the vessel via our digital mtu Remote Services platform, and staying fully informed of the operating status at all times via the data logger.

Normally, terminal-harbor tugs like  Cyathea  move around in limited spaces, maneuvering large ships to the right terminals in harbor basins and out again. Two mtu 12V4000M63 engines, teamed with azimuth propellers, give it the power and agility needed for this task. They each have an output of 1,500 kW at 1,800 rpm, giving a cruising speed of 13 knots in open waters. But the mtu engines are currently performing an exceptional task, giving the 650-ton ship the wherewithal to fight the adversities of the world's oceans on the high seas.  

“This long passage is really putting the tug to the test. Once it has mastered this, it will be fit for its tough job in port”

Guy Chambon from shipping company Compagnie Maritime Chambon

Cyathea is not only traveling halfway around the world, but is itself truly international, having been designed by Canadian marine architect Robert Allan, built by Turkish shipyard Bogazici, and soon to be operated by French shipping company SORA, a subsidiary of Compagnie Maritime Chambon in New Caledonia, a French overseas territory. The Rolls-Royce subsidiary mtu Singapore and Australian distributor Penske Power Systems will provide regular service, ensuring the tugboat runs smoothly in its new South Sea paradise.

“The great success was gained by working as one team in a 360-degree approach; subsidiaries, headquarter, shipyard, and operators - this is our key success criteria, I believe", Ali Guzel, Managing Director of mtu Turkey, says. "We are proud to work together with Bogazici Shipyard and look forward to continuing our successful collaboration.”

Cyathea is a prime example of how global collaboration works,” said Andreas Müller-Hirlinger from the Sales unit responsible for tugs and workboats at Rolls-Royce's Power Systems division. “Drawing on our international network, we've established a team that is spread around the globe: mtu France made the initial contact with end user Chambon at a maritime conference in Marseille. Shortly afterwards, our colleagues in Turkey visited the Bogazici Shipyard where Chambon wanted to have the tug built, and in the end we succeeded in convincing them of our merits because we are able to provide local service in far-flung Nouméa through our partner in Australia.”

In contrast to Phileas Fogg, who returned after his trip around the world, Cyathea is to remain at her destination. Upon arrival at the port of Nouméa, the capital of New Caledonia, she will take up her duties, performing the tasks normally expected of a tugboat, and using her bollard pull capacity of 54 metric tons to manage port traffic. She still has a few nautical miles to go to get there, and we wish her a good passage!

By the way - find out here   where Cyathea is currently located:


Commercial Marine

New mtu propulsion package brings power to Ravenna port

by Kerstin Hansmann

The new tugboat – the Alberoni – is a compact powerhouse that went into service on the northern Adriatic in Italy last May. Its job is to support the existing tugboat fleet in Ravenna port in managing the busy maritime traffic.

Read more

Connect with Us

Customer Assistance Center

We are here to take your Sales & Service questions around the clock, 365 days a year.

Read more

Sales & Service Locator

Find your local partner for Sales & Service.

Read more

mtu Stories

Reports and interviews about mtu products and solutions.

Read more