It was in the scope of our Physics-Chemistry class that we went on a field trip to the Port of Sines, since it is the most significant merchant port in Portugal and the one who moves more cargo annually. More than 50% of the maritime cargo that moves nationally goes through there. As far as energy products are concerned (fuels and such), that percentage goes up to 74 %.

Due to its strategic location and depth of waters (28 meters), its able to welcome any kind of existing ship and move any kind of cargo. Sines is in the TOP 100 worldclass container ports.

In the beginning of the tour we attended a lecture about the port where the lecturer assured us that they would keep betting on the expansion and competitiveness of the port. After that we went on a bus tour to visit all the shipping terminals.

Despite all the interesting aspects of our morning, the best part of the visit was after lunch, when we were given the chance to board and visit one of the most powerful tugboats we have in the country. Tugboats are extremely powerful boats, whose job is to assist ships when they break down or when manoeuvring in the port. This boats can also be used to fight fires and provide other kinds of assistance.

When visiting the tugboat, we started in the engine room, where we were informed that the ship has a 5000 horse power Rolls Royce engine. After that we went up to check the crew’s quarters. When we arrived at the bridge, we were shown all the controls and we learned how to manoeuvre the tugboat.

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All of us were given a chance to manoeuvre it and when it was my turn, I obviously loved it. They are so flexible and manoeuvrable, they can turn 360º and start moving astern quite easily and in no time.

At the end of the visit we still went to the fire station and to the port’s VTS building (vessel traffic services).