Queensland-based Rivtow, a subsidiary of Riverside Marine, has been selected by mining giant BHP Billiton to operate 14 tugs inside iron-ore shipping hub Port Hedland, thus replacing the previous tugboat operator Teekay.
“The contract has been awarded following a competitive tender process for BHP Billiton’s largest tugboat fleet based on safety, capability and cost-effectiveness criteria,” The Sydney Morning Herald cited BHP Billiton as saying.
The decision is believed to had been triggered by last year’s industrial dispute between Teekay and its unionized tug workers at Port Hedland that protracted for 18 months.
After several strikes and delays in operation, Teekay managed to come to terms with Australian Maritime Officers Union (AMOU), the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) and the Australian Institute of Marine & Power Engineers (AIMPE) on replacement enterprise agreements for its employees in December last year.
Rivtow, on the other hand, does not have a unionized workforce.
Teekay Australia was in charge of tug operations at Port Hedland and Hay Point since 2002.
The tug fleet presently consist of 7 ASD and 7 RotorTugs.
World Maritime News Staff