• PNG Business News

Customised Solutions for Marine Projects


Well maintained vessels and an ongoing fleet upgrade program, are central to expanding service delivery in Oceania and South East Asia.

Although, towage, mooring, salvage, commercial diving, and liferafts are Pacific Towing’s ‘core’ services, the company is increasingly providing customised and project-based solutions for a diversity of clients.


With businesses in PNG, Fiji and Solomon Islands, Pacific Towing has also serviced several other countries including Australia, Indonesia, Micronesia, Philippines and Singapore. The company’s geographic reach is contributing to its growing reputation of not just being PNG’s ‘go to’ provider of customised solutions for marine projects but also Oceania’s and South East Asia’s.


General Manager, Neil Papenfus, says “a considerable competitive advantage of ‘PacTow’ when it comes to project-based work, is our ability to think outside the square and problem solve.” Citing a 2018 APEC project as an example, he describes how the company provided “a 100 percent home grown solution” for PNG water utility, Eda Ranu, whereby Pacific Towing’s own engineers planned, designed, developed and implemented a black and grey water discharge system for passenger vessels accommodating APEC attendees. Pacific Towing chartered a barge, modified the 14 internal tanks and handled a total of 2.6 million cubic metres of treated black and grey water. “Not something you’d necessarily expect from a marine towage provider” emphasises Papenfus “but this is exactly the type of ‘out-of-the-box’ problem solving we’re doing for all sorts of clients, across numerous industries, in different countries.”


Workshop Manager, Stanley Holland, says that Pacific Towing’s varied project work draws upon the expertise of the engineers he manages as well as every other employee.


“Staff from each of our departments contribute their knowledge and diverse skill sets to our projects and we work especially closely with our commercial dive team.”


PacTow divers recently worked on the wreck retrieval of the 88 metre long container ship ‘Southern Phoenix’ in Fiji, supported the sewage extension project in PNG’s capital of Port Moresby, assisted with underwater survey work throughout PNG for the country’s new digital data cable, and designed, manufactured and installed the anchor and buoys for the high-security entanglement netting at APEC House.


Pacific Towing’s breadth of project expertise and capacity to problem solve on behalf of clients means that the 40+ year old company, a subsidiary of the Steamships Group, is regularly sought out for its maritime knowledge. “Despite the fact that we don’t ‘officially’ offer a maritime advice consultancy service, all sorts of businesses, government agencies and industry bodies approach us for our advice” says Operations Manager, Gerard Kasnari.


“They might want advice on international and open water towage, technical information on wreck retrievals, marine pollution control mechanisms, engine maintenance best practice, even recommendations on training providers in the region.”


Pacific Towing doesn’t charge for its advice, seeing it as an important ‘value add’ for its clients and a business development strategy. “We’re experts in our field” emphasises Kasnari.


“We’ve got 200+ extremely well trained staff with exceptional technical knowledge. Moreover, 95 percent of our staff are local hires with an intimate understanding of our waterways, reefs and weather patterns. It’s no wonder everyone comes to PacTow when they want advice on anything to do with the region’s maritime environment and industry,” he said.


Pacific Towing will continue to provide customised and project-based solutions to an expanding number of diverse clients in Oceania and South East Asia. Likewise, the company will continue to increase its internal capabilities via fleet upgrades and the introduction of specialised assets, ISO accreditations, and an ongoing and substantial investment in the best possible training. Now in its third year of being LTI free, 2020 will also see Pacific Towing introduce its own Safety Awards program.

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