The exit of one of Newcastle’s two tugboat companies will result in the loss of 50 jobs.
Newcastle Herald reported tug operator Smit Lamnalco would be leaving Newcastle, leaving only eight tugboats run by Svitzer.
According to the MUA, the Dutch-based Smit Lamnalco operated four tugboats in the Newcastle port.
It was understood the company had been “squeezed” by the financial downturn in the coal industry, however those reports were not confirmed by the MUA.
MUA branch secretary Glenn Williams said the Port of Newcastle would be unable to operate at full capacity without all 12 tugs, and that the four Smit Lamnalco tugs would need to be chartered by Svitzer with extra crew.
“There’s times when all 12 Newcastle tugs are out on the water at once,” Williams said.
Williams said some of those who lost their jobs would be able to pick up more work with Svitzer.
Smit Lamnalco bought PB Towage Australia in January this year, claiming it had taken over the second largest tugboat company in Australia, to operate 29 vessels from eight Australian ports.