Work boat? Barrier boat? Push tug? Mini tractor tug? Marine bulldozer?
Call it what you want, but the Sailors in Port Operations at Naval Support Activity Souda Bay call the two new, 30-foot Modutech work boats welcome additions to the team.
“These work boats are very important to our work in Port Operations,” said Chief Boatswain’s Mate Andre Edwards. “They are needed for our day-to-day mission.”
The new work boats are versatile pieces of marine equipment that can push, tow or otherwise provide assistance to ships in port.
“For example, if a destroyer pulls into port, the work boats will go out and open up the security barriers to allow the ships to access the pier and moor up,” said Edwards. “The work boat will close the barrier behind the ship and then place an oil boom around the ship. The oil boom is there to prevent oil from getting out into the bay in case of a spill.”
In order to pilot the new 30-foot vessels, Sailors must first be Coxswain qualified, which requires the completion of a personnel qualification standard for Coxswains. A specialized PQS for the work boat must then be completed.
“It’s about learning how to manipulate these boats,” said Boatswain’s Mate 3rd Class Sebastian Sanchez. “It makes everything more efficient and makes the mission a lot easier when all of our Sailors are qualified to operate the equipment.”
The Port Operations team at NSA Souda Bay works at the NATO Marathi Pier Complex, which sits on Souda Bay near the city of Chania. Port Operations supports U.S., Allied, Coalition, and Partner nation forces operating in the U.S. Sixth Fleet through port services and oil spill prevention and response for visiting assets. The NATO Marathi Pier Complex is the only deep-water pier in the Mediterranean Sea with berthing capability for aircraft carriers.
“The goal is to get these ships and submarines in and out in a timely manner,” said Sanchez. “We need to be able to do our part so that they continue to support the Fleet.”