Special boats called tugs help other ships enter and exit ports. These boats’ main function is to assist in pulling, pushing, and directing larger ships. To aid the larger ships, many even include fire suppression and other equipment. But how, and why are these relatively small tugs able to move vessels a thousand times larger than themselves?
So why do big ships need assistance entering and leaving ports? Large ships are simple to control at sea because they can maintain speed and have lots of room to change course. The more cargo a ship could transport over long distances, the less maneuverable it became at slow speeds and in confined places. It is extremely challenging for ships, which might be hundreds of meters long, to move sideways. Huge vessels, including LNG and container ships, are frequently escorted by tugboats as they approach a port to ensure they take the safest path. Once in port, the tugs are once more responsible for transporting them on the last stage of their journey.
Once in port, one or more tugs can pull the ship with a tow line or push it into the dock, depending on the size of the ship and the tugs. Large ships need this aid for the final mooring of the ship, especially in crowded ports, because at low speeds, they don’t have enough water passing over the rudder to turn swiftly.
Both direct and indirect towing are possible with the tow line. Direct towing involves the tug dragging the ship straight ahead, most usually because the ship is unable to propel itself. Through indirect towing, the tug can steer the ship by pulling it to one side and aiding in its rotation. Of course, tugs can also approach the ship’s side directly and push. Typically, large ships have specific places where tugs can safely push.
Let’s watch the most powerful tugboats in the video below:
Source: Top10 Files
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