Suffolk tug completes Clemenceau tow

A SUFFOLK-based tug has completed the delivery of the former French aircraft carrier Clemenceau to a recycling facility where it is to be broken up. Klyne Tugs (Lowestoft) Ltd deployed its Anglian Earl vessel to tow the 32,780 tonne 55 metre-long Clemanceau 713 miles from the French port of Brest, along the English Channel and up the east coast to its final resting place on the River Tees.

A SUFFOLK-based tug has completed the delivery of the former French aircraft carrier Clemenceau to a recycling facility where it is to be broken up.

Klyne Tugs (Lowestoft) Ltd deployed its Anglian Earl vessel to tow the 32,780 tonne 55 metre-long Clemanceau 713 miles from the French port of Brest, along the English Channel and up the east coast to its final resting place on the River Tees.

The Clemanceau - once the pride of the Frency navy and known affectionately by its crew as “le Clem”, but now officially known less glamorously as hull Q790 - was decommissioned in 1997.

Its final fate has taken more than a decade to resolve, with environmental campaigners expressing alarm at the level of hazardous material on board including 700 tonnes of asbestos between the deck levels.


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However, specialist marine recycling company Able UK of Hartlepool eventually won the contract to break up the vessel, a process which will create about 200 jobs.

Colin Harrison, Able UK's head of ports and logistics, said: “We were delighted with the high level of service provided by Klyne Tugs. This was a very high profile event and the commission was undertaken on schedule and with an essential overriding emphasis on safety. All parties involved deserve congratulating for a job well done.”

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Carl Beare, Klyne's managing director, added: “It was an extremely demanding operation for the crew of the tug with all the towing equipment having to be placed in position and securely fastened. The total weight of the towing gear was 20 tonnes and it had to be pulled into position from the deck of the tug. The crew did extremely well to complete the task in two and a half days prior to leaving Brest.”

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