SAAM Towage has acquired 21 tugs from Starnav, a Brazilian owner of offshore support vessels, for $198m.

The Chilean towage service provider now owns 69 tugboats for its SAAM Towage Brazil division as a result of the purchase, which includes two vessels in the final phase of construction.

“This is one of the largest transactions in SAAM’s history and is part of our strategy to continue advancing our leadership in the towage industry. Brazil is home to our company’s largest operations and with this deal we will have one of the most competitive, most modern fleets in that country,” chief executive Macario Valdes said in a statement.

SAAM Towage Brazil will take over the debt for the 21 tugs, which are considered state-of-the-art and high-capacity, and deduct it from the price paid to Starnav.

Parent SAAM Towage was founded in 2019 as a subsidiary of SAAM, which has offered logistics and port terminal services since 1961. It acquired 70% of Intertug in 2021.

The Chilean company owns more than 200 tugs that service ports and terminals in 13 countries throughout the Americas.

Almost a year ago to the date, SAAM Towage Brazil bought 17 tugs from Starnav for $150m. The deal also included acquiring four tugs under construction for $48m.

SAAM Towage Brazil also assumed the debt for these tugs and deducted it from the price paid to Starnav.

This came just weeks after SAAM Towage bought towage businesses in late April from Ian Taylor in Peru, and Standard Towing and Davies Tugboats in Canada.