Gearing towage services towards the port’s needs

The port of Toulon – La Seyne-Brégaillon is scaling up its towage services in a bid to meet demand from the growing number of ship-owners and shipping groups wishing to lay over, while addressing the need to accommodate ever larger vessels and tighten up maritime security. Port entry and departure manoeuvres can be performed 24/7 in complete safety for all vessels requiring such assistance.


From contracted private towage firms to a public-sector towage agreement

Ship-owners used to call the local towage service (through the harbourmaster’s office) operated by Société Nouvelle de Remorquage et de Travaux Maritimes (SNRTM), which provided a professional and consistent service for some 40 years. The decision to change operator was taken after discussing the issue (for drafting the contract) with Toulon’s pilotage and mooring service as well as the harbourmaster’s office. By early July 2023, the new service was already 50% operational after one of the two CM CHAMBON vessels assigned to Toulon had berthed at the cruise jetty in La Seyne-sur-Mer


TPM chooses Compagnie Maritime CHAMBON

The Toulon Provence Méditerranée Metropolis (TPM), the port authority since 1 January 2017, equips, maintains and manages the eight ports that it owns in the metropolitan area as well as the ports under a management concession agreement with the Var Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCIV). TPM is also responsible for fostering economic growth and developing tourist activities in these port areas.

TPM launched a tendering process after deciding to outsource towage services for the port of Toulon – La Seyne-Brégaillon. The four-year public contract was awarded to CM CHAMBON (Marseille) on 5 May. This decision coincides with TPM’s objective of guaranteeing autonomous and readily available towage services in the port.

A name change from « Boulonnais » to « Chambon Libeccio »

The « Boulonnais » made its arrival on 12 July. After sailing from Boulogne-sur-Mer, the tug reached the Mediterranean, where it was renamed « Chambon Libeccio » after the violent south westerly wind that sweeps accros Italy and Corsica.

This Portuguese-built tug is powered by a 2,600 hp engine and comes from CM CHAMBON’s 12-strong fleet: « The tug is in its prime and boasts a flawless service history, » explained Guy Chambon, CEO of CM CHAMBON, during the Towage Committee meeting on 19 June 2023, whose members unanimously agreed to assign the tug to the port of Toulon, which was still operating in Boulogne-sur-Mer at that time.


Closer look at towage activities: Toulon – Summer 2023

The « Chambon Libeccio » was in high demand during the summer months, since it came close to carrying out a record-breaking number of operations with no fewer than 60 manoeuvres to its credit, thereby confirming the need to scale up towage activities to cope with the growing level of demand driven by the increasing appeal of the port of Toulon.

The fleet is now at full strength with the arrival of the flagship « Chambon Mistral »

The main tug in the fleet sailed into Toulon on 18 September 2023. CM CHAMBON purchased the vessel in Norway on 23 July, which finally arrived safely in Toulon after a long journey that involved a layover at a shipyard in Denmark for remedial work to align the tug with regulations. » This ASD* tug features a 4,000 hp engine with a bollard pull of 59 tons and can be scrambled into action within one hour, 365 days a year. The tug is also fitted with a fire suppression system.

Previously known as the « FFS Amaranth », this Spanish-built tug was renamed the « Chambon Mistral » after the famous wind to herald its arrival in the Mediterranean. The « Chambon Mistral » and the « Chambon Libeccio » will both play a key role in supporting growth in the port’s layover capabilities and allowing various vessels to moor in the commercial port in all weather conditions, including cruise ships, ferries, tankers and even superyachts, whatever their tonnage.

*ASD: Azimuth Stern Drive

A « formalised » support agreement with the French Navy

The French Navy is continuing to assist towage operations in the port of Toulon – La Seyne-Brégaillon. TPM, the port authority, has signed an agreement whereby the navy will step in and fulfil any additional towage needs subject to specific predefined conditions

The crews

Each watch will be manned by a four-strong onshore french crew with experience in towage operations, including a captain, a chief engineer and two sailors. The crews carrying out the three watches will be trained on the new port environment to provide on-demand towage services in the port of Toulon – La Seyne-Brégaillon 365 days a year

A future logistics room

A container will be installed at the fitting-out dock in La Seyne-sur-Mer to allow the CM CHAMBON crews to store their technical equipment. The port authority has started work on installing a fixed supply terminal to give the container access to water and electricity.