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HMS Prince of Wales

Mar 20, 2024, 11:22 AM

Boluda Towage safely assisted British Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales in the Port of Rotterdam


Tuesday 19 March 2024 marked the arrival of the Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales (R09) in the port of Rotterdam. 


The aircraft carrier returned from the massive NATO Exercise Steadfast Defender in the North Sea near Norway, which took place in February and March. Britain’s biggest warship joined the international Amphibious Task Group in one of the most important military exercises in a generation.


Upon successful completion of the exercise, the crew required a port visit. The careful embarkation process was hosted by Rhenus Logistics at its deep sea terminal Maasvlakte Rotterdam.  


Boluda Towage was excited and honoured to be part of this special occasion, and welcomed the HMS Prince of Wales with a ceremonial water salute. The tugs VB Tiger, VB Kracht, VB Hudson, and VB Schelde safely assisted the aircraft carrier to its berthing place. 

Each special transport has its challenges, which require a well-thought-out approach. Ahead of the aircraft carrier’s arrival, various meetings were held with the different partners concerned.

Amongst Tow Masters of Boluda Towage, representatives of local agencies, Port Authorities, Pilots, and Linesmen discussed the procedures, required preparations, outline responsibilities, communications, operational restrictions and safety aspects of the towage assistance. For example, the aircraft carrier's shape and hull structure required special towing and mooring operations, and therefore the tug's mast had to be folded. With its extensive and diverse fleet, Boluda Towage was able to provide tugs with foldable masts. 

During the operation, two tow masters of Boluda Towage streamlined the coordination between the four harbour tugs and the pilots. Thanks to professional performance and smooth cooperation between all teams involved, this specialized operation was carried out safely. 


About HMS Prince of Wales 
HMS Prince of Wales is one of the most powerful surface warships ever constructed in the UK and forms part of the Royal Navy‘s two-strong fleet of Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers. 


Her flight deck is 70 metres wide and 280 metres long – enough space for three football pitches – and she holds a minimum of 45 days’ worth of food in stores. She will have a crew complement (minimum crew) of around 700, increasing to around 1,600 with aircraft onboard. HMS Prince of Wales’ size and scope is awe-inspiring – she can embark 36 F-35B and four Merlin Helicopters.

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