Abu Dhabi Ports Company (ADPC) has celebrated the keel laying ceremony for two new 32 metre escort tugboats specially designed for marine services at the new Khalifa Port. A keel is the large beam around which shipbuilders make the hull of the ship and is generally the first part to be constructed. The new escort tugboats will be manufactured by Grandweld, a UAE-based shipbuilding, ship repair and conversion specialist, which was chosen after a close evaluation process of over eight worldwide shipbuilders. The keel laying ceremony was held on Thursday in Grandweld's Shipyard in Dubai and was presided over by Captain Mohamed Al Shamisi, Vice President-Ports Operations of ADPC, who gave a welcoming speech and described the event as a momentous and proud occasion for ADPC. The vessels feature a 55 ton bollard pull capability, providing enough power to handle the large vessels and container ships operating in Khalifa Port. The vessels' special features also include 360 degree rotatable propeller drives providing the tugs with exceptional maneuverability. In addition, and to further enhance safety in Khalifa port, the vessels will be equipped with firefighting capability to class 1. Mohamed Al-Shamisi,Vice President-Ports Operations for the Abu Dhabi Ports Company, commented: "We at ADPC are very proud to celebrate the establishment of this fundamental cornerstone and we share that pride with our ADPC customers with whom we work closely, and are committed to providing the highest quality of services. The first ever tugboats for Khalifa Port have been specifically designed to handle the world class infrastructure port project." Jamal Abki, General Manager of Grandweld shipyards, marked the occasion with the following statement: "We are aware of the increasing demand for high performance tugs with advanced technology that can enhance port safety and operations; we aim to bring this technology to khalifa port. Grandweld is pleased to contribute to the expansion of Abu Dhabi maritime infrastructure".