What are Anchor Handling Tug Supply Vessels (AHTS)?

It is common knowledge that oil rigs are located in the middle of the ocean or in the high seas. But just as this is easy to understand, the question arises that what type of vessels help such oil rigs reach the middle of the ocean? The anchor handling tug supply vessel (AHTS) is the answer to this question.

The anchor handling tug is a naval vessel that is solely concerned with the objective of either tugging or towing an oil-rig or a ship. When it comes to oil rigs, these tugs form the most important necessity as without their help, it would be impossible to place oil rigs in the required sea and oceanic areas.

Design Aspects and Additional Features

Anchor handling tug vessels or systems have a crane like equipment (known as the winch) that can be attached to the oil rigs and then propelled forth in the water. The “anchor supply “, mentioned as a part of the vessel’s name, is then allowed to be sunk into the seawater in order to keep the rigs steady.



AHTS vessels are a type of supply vessels that supply tugs and anchors to not just oil rigs but also to cargo-carrying barges. Technically, an AHTS is a very huge naval vessel, mainly because of the equipments that it carries – tugs and anchors along with the winches. In order to transport such a heavy bulk in a manner that they are lost while the AHTS is moving, it is but natural that the design and construction of such ships has to be accommodating to fit such equipments easily.

In addition to towing and tugging oil rigs, another major feature of such anchor handling vessels is that they also act as rescue vessels for other ships in times of some emergency. If a ship or a boat requires immediate anchor handling or towing or tugging, and if an anchor handling tug is in the oceanic vicinity, then they are a great source of help to such stranded vessels.

Increase in Usage of AHTS

Since the AHTS provide a multi-utility facility, as naval vessels they are demanded in a higher coverage area. Also since in contemporary times, oil drilling from the oceanic areas has increased and is a regular activity, the increase in demand and usage of AHTS makes a lot of relevance and sense.

Although the knowledge about AHTS is not that common, among people whose routine work involves shipping and oil drilling, the concept of AHTS is not something that is new. The anchor handling tug and supply vessels have been an intrinsic part of the oil-drilling industry right from the time drilling oil from oceans as an option was raised.

Also as a point to ponder, it can be mentioned that since such vessels involve anchor handling and are used for the purpose of rescue of other vehicles, they can be used as effective tools to prevent oil rig capsizing and other types of mishaps occurring in the high sea waters.

AHTS are one of those technological creations of the marine world that not only aid other technological developments’ with smooth progress but also help in preventing major mishaps at the sea.

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