New Project 90600 harbor tugs RB-20 and RB-27 were officially commissioned into Russian Navy on June 1. The ensign-hoisting ceremony took place on both tugs in Kronshtadt. Reporter of Central Navy Portal attended the solemn event.
The tugs were built by Pella Shipyard (St. Petersburg) for Baltic Fleet (BF) Leningrad Naval Base as a part of a large batch ordered by Russian Defense Ministry with the view to replace overaged tugs built in 70-80's. It is noteworthy that the last new tug was commissioned into Leningrad Naval Base 27 years ago. So, it is clear why participants of the meeting held in Kronshtadt were in high spirits.
The meeting was opened by Leningrad Naval Base Commander Capt 1 Rank Oleg V. Zhuravlev saying in his speech that "today is a significant day, the birthday of two new vessels! Auxiliary fleet of our base has not been renewed for a long time, and now we're receiving new up-to-date vessels".
The next spokesman was Igor N. Schebetyuk, Deputy Director General of Pella Shipyard. According to him, "these two azimuthal tugs are tenth and eleventh ones built by Pella for Russian Navy and 2-nd and 3-rd joined Baltic Fleet. Our shipyard is ready to continue cooperation with defense ministry. Wish sailors to accomplish all tasks successfully!"
Head of Kronshtadt administration Alexander M. Goroshko said: "Being a retired naval mariner, for me it is good to hear that auxiliary fleet of our base received two powerful tugs. By the way, it gives 24 new jobs. Sure, the crews will be hard at work, and that's good!"
Leningrad Naval Base Deputy Commander Capt 1 Rank Dmitry Ukrainets read the Decree No. 173 issued by Navy Commander-in-Chief on Apr 23, 2012 about commission of harbor tugs RB-20 and RB-27 into Baltic Fleet. Capt 1 Rank Oleg Zhuravlev handed over Russian Navy's auxiliary fleet ensigns to the tugs' commanding officers, Sergei Kondratiev and Yury Akentiev.
Dean of Kronshtadt Maritime Cathedral Father Svyatoslav blessed the ensigns and presented icons of Nicholas Sanctifier patronizing seafarers to the commanding officers.
Ensigns were triumphantly hoisted with national anthem of the Russian Federation.
Then both tugs headed off the quay, demonstrated their unique capabilities by excellent maneuvering, and elicited applause from participants and guests.
Senior engineer of auxiliary ship group in Lomonosov port Alexei Volchenkov told Central Navy Portal that tugs were almost ready to be used for intended purpose. "Today both vessels are passing qualification trials, and that 'dancing' at sea is also an element of tests. I think they will cope with that excellently. Very soon both tugs will perform complicated moorage operations on transport ship Yamal arrived in St. Petersburg".
RB-20 (serial number 929) and RB-27 (serial number 930) were laid down at JSC Pella Shipyard and launched in 2011. Acceptance certificates were signed on Nov 18, 2011 and Dec 23, 2011 respectively.
Both tugs were attached to Baltic Fleet 131 Support Base located in Lomonosov port.
General characteristics of Project 90600 azimuthal tug