-   Uranus and Orcus

Harms Bergung Transport & Heavylift GmbH & Co. KG (Harms), ship owners and managers in Hamburg, have expanded their fleet of tugs furthermore. Until August 2005 they had ordered two tugs with 200t bollard pull and two tugs with 220t. Radio Bremen published on its website on 3.06.2006 that Harms had ordered two more deep sea tugs, this time with a bollard pull of 280t. As the oil exploration is transferred to ever deeper oceans this high bollard pull is needed to handle the increasing weight of anchors, chains, and wires. The commissioning of these tugs was announced for 2008. The tugs are designed for an especially large operating range and economical operation. They got the names:


-   Project development

Owners of the tugs are again two one-ship investment funds. Harms are managers of the tugs, but they have not chartered them. A consortium of MAN-Ferrostaal in Essen and Mützelfeldtwerft in Cuxhaven was commissioned with the whole project for 88.2m Euro. Within this consortium MAN-Ferrostaal AG takes responsibility for the project management including the design and engineering, the material procurement, the supervision of deliveries and the co-ordination during the construction phase. The Mützelfeldtwerft carries out the construction of the tugs. The corporate identity established with the compact superstructures of the five tugs delivered previously got lost on URANUS and ORCUS with two additional decks and a shorter forecastle. Hitzler Shipyard in Lauenburg/River Elbe carried out the design and engineering as on all other Harms new built tugs. The hull was completely new designed and underwent extensive tank tests at the Shipbuilding Research Centre Potsdam to check and optimize the design. The keel laying of URANUS took place on the shipyard in Cuxhaven in autumn of 2007. The Bugsier sheerlegs ENAK started to place the four on the quay prefabricated hull sections in the shipyard’s floating dry-dock for welding on 22. April 2008. She left the dock for the first time on 31. August 2008. The yard trials took place in August and September 2009. The trial period resulted from difficulties Wartsila had with their drive train since the start-up phase. Therefore the URANUS had actually to be towed to Hamburg for docking at Blohm & Voss shipyard. Mützelfeld’s dock was occupied by ORCUS at that time in July 2009. The bollard pull tests were carried out in Stavanger on 7. October 2009. Naming ceremony and delivery took place in Cuxhaven on 21. November 2009 and 10. December 2009 respectively. The intended A-frame could not be erected on URANUS because of stability problems. The hull sections of ORCUS were lifted again by ENAK into the floating dry-dock on 9. and 10. March 2009. The finished hull of ORCUS got broadened by 2 x 1.20m in winter 2009/2010 to solve these stability problems. The yard trials took place in May 2010 and the bollard pull tests in Stavanger at the end of May. The sheerlegs ENAK lifted the A-frame onto ORCUS on 8. June 2010. ORCUS got named on 9. July 2010. The delivery is expected for August 2010. URANUS arrived at Mützelfeldtwerft to undergo the same broadening as ORCUS on 26. July 2010. The heavy delays of both tugs were partly caused by finishing the PRIMUS reproductions PEGASUS and CENTAURUS with high priority first.

-   Description

General: URANUS and ORCUS are conventional deep sea tugs/AHT with two propellers in fixed HR-nozzles provided by Lips-Wärtsilä. One TIMON flap-rudder is mounted behind each nozzle. The rudders were supplied by van der Velden Barkemeyer. The rudders are independently controlled by Rolls Royce rudder machines. The tugs are strengthened according to Germanischer Lloyd ice class E. The tugs are designed to withstand drift ice in estuaries and coastal areas. The hull is built on frames spaced at 600mm. The hull plating varies from 12 to 16mm. The tugs are powered by four MaK main engines. Each propeller is driven by two type 9M32 engines with 4,500kW (6,120bhp) each at 600rpm. A so-called father & son configuration as on JANUS and URSUS was not possible with the available engines and the requirement of 9,000kW per propeller. Nevertheless this configuration allows a more economic operation than with just two large engines during the partial loads often occurring in offshore work. At 100% MCR a 9M32 uses less fuel than a 9,000kW type 9M43 engine at 4,500kW. The MaK engines can use Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO) allowing savings of approx. US$ 140 per tonne (February 2010) compared to Marine Diesel Fuel (MFO), but at higher initial costs caused by the necessary HFO pre-heating system. The difference was up to US$ 400 per tonne in July 2008. Wärtsilä supplied two type TCH270-S58 gearboxes with a ratio of 1:4.918. The engines are coupled via clutches to the gears. The gears have a second power-take-off with its own clutch for shaft generators with an output of 2,000kW each. These generators too were supplied by Zeppelin Power Gmbh, the German exclusive dealer for Caterpillar and MaK products. The Wärtsilä (formerly Lips) 4-blade controllable pitch propellers (cpp) types 4D1300 have a hub diameter of 1.30m and a propeller diameter of 5.00m. They turn at 122rpm. URANUS reached a maximum speed of 17kts on trials. Running only on two engines at 80% MCR an economical speed of approx. 12kts can be achieved. The maximum continuous bollard pull was measured with 285t at 100% MCR and 301t at 110% MCR (Maximum Continuous Rating). On just two engines the bollard pull is 176t. In the aftermath of the capsizing of BOURBON DOLPHIN in 2007 an additional bollard pull measurement is required. The measurement is taken in Dynamic Positioning Mode with shaft generators running for the power supply of the thrusters. URANUS reached 230t bollard pull in DP-Mode with only 14,000kW available for propulsion. ORCUS reached a maximum continuous bollard pull at 100% MCR of 297t and a maximum bollard pull of 306t at 110% MCR. The bunker capacities are: 172m3 MGO, 3,420m3 HFO, 83m3 drinking water, and 316m3 ballast water. Two bow thrusters, one stern thruster, the two cpp propellers, and the two independent rudders make up a dynamic positioning system according to DP2. The three thrusters were supplied by Schottel. The stern thruster is a type STT1 CP driven by a 400kW electric motor with a 1.29m dia. controllable pitch propeller. The two type STT4 CP bow thrusters have 1,200kW electric motors with 1.99m dia. controllable pitch propellers. The tugs are equipped with a fire fighting system according to FiFi1 standard. Two Kumera fire fighting pumps are coupled to the front end of the outer 9M32 engines. The pumps deliver 1,400m3/h of water at 14bar pressure to two 1,200m3/h fire fighting monitors and the self-protection deluge system. The complete system was supplied by Fire Fighting Systems from Norway. The self-protection system is installed inside the handrails of bulwarks and railings where ever possible.


Sponsons were attached to both sides of the hull. They are 2 x 1.20m wide, begin approx. 14m from the bow and end approx. 12m from the stern. The top is adjusted to the open decks like main deck, tween deck, and forecastle deck. The bottom edge is approx. 3.50m above the keel to maintain a free water inlet to the sea chests. There were additional adjustments necessary at e.g. the portholes, the life raft racks, and the life boat davit.

Tank top deck:

Viewing from bow to stern you find the following compartments: bow thruster room, sewage plant room, generator room with two Caterpillar generators type 3412 with an output of 625kVA/ 500kW, and the HFO pre-heating plant. These rooms are embedded in fuel tanks which are a both sides. They are followed by the engine room with chain lockers for rig chains to both sides of the central passageway, the four main engines, two gears with shaft generators, and the fire fighting pumps. Last is the stern thruster room which is embedded in fuel tanks and accessible only from above.

Platform deck:

The deck has two large openings in the engine room for the main engines. Aft of it are two workshops followed by fuel tanks. In the stern are two steering gear rooms with the hydraulic room for Karm forks and towing pins in-between. They are accessible by a central passageway through fuel tanks. The stern thruster room beneath can be reached from this passageway. In front of the main engines the exhaust ducts and silencers are fitted followed by a storage winch. This winch carries the reserve towing wire required by the classification societies. The winch was supplied by Hatlapa and has a capacity of 83mm x 1,600m towing wire. Here too every free space is used for fuel tanks. In front of the engine room is the engine control room located. This room provides access to the bow thruster room.

Main deck:

The deck consists of the open aft/work deck and the accommodation area. The Hatlapa waterfall towing winch type SWI 5000/6000 is mounted behind the accommodation and is flanked by stores and bulwarks. The winch is electrically driven and has three drums. It consists of five main assemblies. The sternmost assembly is the spooling device which is built into a separate frame because of the high forces. The owner ordered it manually controlled not computerized. The next two assemblies are the two lower anchor handling drums with a capacity of 83mm x 2,000m steel wire. They are mounted side by side. The brake powers are 600t and the pulling powers are 500t/ 250t at 3.5/ 7.0m/min. The upper towing drum is mounted in an additional assembly. The drum has a capacity of 83mm x 2,000m too, a brake power of 400t, and pulling powers of 250t/ 125t at 7.5/ 15m/min. The drive-train assembly is mounted between the lower and upper drums. It carries two asynchronous motors on each side. Jaw clutches in the main shaft are shiftable only at zero speed. They allow user-defined combinations of two of the three drums to be used independently and simultaneously at the same speeds but only half the powers. The asynchronous motors allow continuously adjustable speeds of up to 30m/min at lower forces. Instead of warping heads there are chain lifters for 76mm (3’’) chains on the shafts of the lower drums to feed rig chains into the lockers on the tank top deck. All drums can be disengaged under load through multi-disc clutches which are mounted between motors and gears inside the frame. A preset dedicated brake power avoids wooldings that might occur when a chain runs out freely. The chain lifters are mounted rigidly on the drum shafts. An emergency release is possible by a special motor circuitry. The work area of 315m2 on the aft deck is bordered by cargo rails on both sides. Protected by the cargo rails two HATLAPA tugger winches are mounted on port and starboard sides near the towing winch. They are electrically driven and develop a pulling power of 10t at 15m/min. A large high crucifix is fitted behind the towing winch. It serves the higher mounted storage winch too. A number of its panels are clad with sheet metal. Heavy columns for the offshore cranes are built-in on both sides a short distance forward of the tugger winches. The forward half of the aft deck is protected by a timber covering. The usual deck equipment like e.g. bollards is fitted between cargo rails and bulwarks. Approx. 11.50m from the stern hydraulic Hatlapa capstans with 5t pull are mounted on each side. A Palfinger Marine knuckle boom crane type PK65002 MD is fitted approx. 2.50m further forward within the port cargo rail. Toward the work area it is protected by an additional cargo rail whose upper half can be removed in case of need. The crane has a safe working load (SWL) of 2.8t at 14m outreach. This SWL is reduced to 1.4t at a significant wave height Hs of 2m. The significant wave height is the means of that third of waves with the greatest height during the observation period. Reserve anchor, grapnel, and J-hook are fitted to the starboard cargo rail outside the work area. A tripartite roller of 5.00m width and 2.00m diameter with 500t SWL is fitted in the stern. There are two sets of one Karm fork with 650t SWL and two towing pins with 300t SWL in front of the stern roller, one set for each anchor handling drum. ORCUS got equipped with an A-frame after the sponsons were attached. The A-frame has an external hydraulic power station provided by Rexroth which is mounted on columns between port bulwark and cargo rail. The A-frame has a reach of 13 m over the deck and 9 m behind the stern with a SWL of 180t. URANUS will get their sponsons now but the A-frame may be mounted later. The accommodation area of the deck contains a towing and salvage store, a paint store and a garbage room at the port side of the towing winch. At starboard is the fire fighting store and the Emergency generator room. The last houses a Caterpillar type C9 genset with an output of 208kVA/167kW. In the bow area you find stores. Behind up to the towing winch are cool and frozen provision stores, galley, crew mess, guest mess, changing room, hospital and the cook’s single-berth cabin.

Tween deck:

The fast rescue boat (FRB)/ workboat type FRB600-IB with its respective davit DFR 600S II/MOR are fitted at starboard. Both were supplied by shipyard Ernst Hatecke. The boat is equipped with a 130hp inboard diesel engine and Vosper water jets. The accommodation area is located inside the hull and totally dedicated to guests. There are four double-berth cabins and eight double-berth cabins with two reserve beds. In the core area stores, laundry and sanitary spaces are located. In the bow a large store is fitted.

Forecastle deck:

Two Hatlapa windlasses with chain lifter, warping head, mooring drum and respective chain stopper are mounted on the forecastle. The windlasses are strengthened for water depths up to 160m. The tugs carry high holding power anchors type AC-14 with a guaranteed weight of 2,250kg. Each anchor is attached to 275m of 42mm diameter grade U3 anchor chain. A 200t Smit-bracket is mounted directly behind the Panama fairlead. The accommodation contains guest rooms and an air-conditioning room. In detail these are a reception, a day room, seven double-berth cabins (three of them for crew), the respective separate sanitary rooms and a store. Two Hatlapa storage winches with a capacity of 2,000m of 203 diameter synthetic rope each are mounted on a platform behind the superstructure. They are equipped with spooling devices, again manually operated. The platform is raised approx. 1.20m above the forecastle deck. Two Palfinger Marine telescopic cranes type PTM 850 are mounted on their columns besides the crucifix at platform level. The cranes have a SWL of 5.2t at 14m outreach. At significant wave heights of 2.00m the SWL is reduced to 2.4t.

Accommodation deck 1:

Here are five single-berth officer cabins and two double-berth crew cabins located. The former have en-suite sanitary facilities and three of them have separate bedrooms. Additionally there are an office and two stores. Three self-righting inflatable life rafts for 37 persons each are mounted at the side of the superstructure at the railings. They are types ZMEC 32 TOSR from Zodiac.

Accommodation deck 2:

The forward bulkhead is occupied by the single-berth cabins with separate bedrooms of captain and chief engineer. Behind you find a double-berth crew cabin and a locker room. Looking to the aft is a towing inspector’s single-berth cabin and a day room. All cabins have en-suite sanitary facilities.

Bridge deck:

Most of the deck is occupied by the wheelhouse. It is surrounded by a service alleyway. The room layout is very similar to JANUS and TAURUS. About 60% of the forward width is occupied by the main control console which is recessed from the bulkhead. In both bridge wings are additional small control consoles. Settees are placed between the consoles. The aft of the wheelhouse is fitted between the funnels and therefore smaller. Here is a second control stand located overlooking the aft deck. It consists of three consoles with two tracked chairs in-between. In easy reach of the starboard chair are the vessel controls, from the port chair the winches are controlled. Among others, the towing winch and the forecastle can be observed by cameras. The port bulkhead is occupied by the communication console and a settee between forward and aft control consoles. To the inside of the settee is the companionway and to the companionway’s starboard side are a table and two benches. At the starboard bulkhead you find a chart table with Navtex receiver and printer as well as echo sounder and DGPS. A kitchenette is fitted to the back of the chart table. The navigation and communication equipment is state-of-art. The navigation equipment contains amongst others two ARPAR radar systems with ESDIC function (electronic chart), Differential GPS (DGPS), magnet compass, three gyro compasses, echo sounder, speed log, and anemometer. The communication equipment is according to Global Maritime Distress and Safety System Area 3 (GMDSS A3) and is functioning within 70° northern and southern latitude. It consists of Navtex; MF-, HF-, and VHF-radios with digital selective calling (DSC) function, Inmarsat C and F satellite telephone with e-mail and fax, Iridium satellite telephone as well as Search And Rescue Transponder (SART) and Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons (EPIRB). The Iridium satellite telephone covers additionally the northern and southern Polar Regions. Most of the equipment was supplied by SAM Electronics, a subsidiary of L3 Communications Corporation. The tugs are equipped with a dynamic positioning system according to DP2 standard. It was provided by L3 Dynamic Positioning & Control Systems, formerly Nautronix.

Top deck:

It carries the magnet compass and three search lights which are remote-controlled from the wheelhouse. The search lights were supplied by Ibak.

Radar platform:

The platform rests on the two funnels and bridges the top deck. It carries the mast, one radar antenna and two fire fighting monitors. A second radar antenna is on the mast.


The tugs have a crew of 15 persons. They can accommodate up to 59 persons, when personnel of the clients wants to come along. The accommodation is fully air-conditioned.

-   Specification

Length over all: 74,30m (incl. 30cm fender)
Length between perpendiculars: 66,65m
Breadth moulded: 18,50m; 20.90m after broadening
Design draught (Te): 07,60m
Max. Draught: 08,00m; 8,20m after broadening
Depth at main deck: 09,50m
Main engines: 4x Mak 9M32
Capacity main engines: 4x 4.500kW (4x 6.120PSe) at 600rpm
Max. continuous bollard pull: 285t URANUS, 297t ORCUS
max. speed: 17kn
Survey: 3.552BRZ; 3.732BRZ after broadening; 1.118 NRZ


For photos in higher resolution please click the thumbnails!
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Uranus Uranus
Uranus, hull sections 2008.04.20 Uranus, hull in dock 2008.06.08
Uranus Uranus
Uranus, Bow and deckhouse 2008.06.08 Uranus, assembly of deckhouse 2008.06.19
Uranus Uranus
Uranus und Orcus 2009.06.01 Uranus und Orcus 2009.06.06
Uranus Uranus
Uranus arriving in Rotterdam 2010.01.14 Uranus in Rotterdam 2010.01.14
Uranus - Orcus Uranus - Orcus
Orcus at Muetzelfeldtwerft, 10.07.2010 Orcus arriving in Cuxhaven, 20.07.2010
Uranus Uranus
Uranus in Rotterdam 2010.01.14 Uranus in Rotterdam 2010.01.14
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Port view of superstructure Starboard view of superstructure
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Bow view of superstructure Stern view of superstructure
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Bow view of mast Stern view of mast
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Fast rescue boat Crucifix
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Lower drum of towing winch Upper drum of Orcus towing winch
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Two lower drums of Orcus towing winch Drive-train of Orcus towing winch
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Spooling device of Orcus towing winch Aft deck
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Spare anchor, J-hook, grapnel Crane on aft deck
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Crane for aft deck of Orcus Telescoping crane
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Storage winch Tugger winch
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Forecastle Anchor winch
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Forward main control console Forward main control console
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Control console in port bridge wing Aft control consoles
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Aft winch control console and communications console Captain’s living room
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Mess Galley
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Engine control room Rolls Royce rudder engine
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Main engines Main engines
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Gear box Karmoy hydraulic unit
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Hatlapa starting air system Fire fighting pump
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Generator set Emergency generator
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Orcus, bow view of sponson Orcus, stern view
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Orcus, A-frame Orcus, foot links of A-frame
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Orcus, joint of lift cylinder and A-frame leg Orcus, external hydraulic unit
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Orcus, cross section of sponson Orcus, bottom edge of sponson
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