Boluda Towage Europe has become the first owner to retrofit a conventional tug to comply with IMO Tier III emissions standards
It has set a precedent for reducing emissions in European ports by working with engine manufacturer Anglo Belgian Corp (ABC) to add pollution controls to one of its existing tugs. After the retrofitting, the tug restarted operations in Zeebrugge Port, in Belgium.
ABC’s diesel engines on tugboat Union Koala were retrofitted with selective catalytic reduction (SCR) equipment to minimise particulate and nitrogen oxides emissions.
This was completed by Flanders Ship Repair ready for the 2009-built tug to re-enter service during a ceremony at the ABC Tower in Zeebrugge, Belgium, on 10 January 2020 where it was officially certified for compliance with the IMO Tier III standards.
This retrofit project was conducted as Zeebrugge port authorities attach strong importance to sustainability and reducing vessels’ environmental footprint, said Boluda Towage Europe chief executive Geert Vandecappelle.
“As a long-term partner of the Port of Zeebrugge, Boluda Towage Europe has committed itself through this project to the port authority’s environmental objectives,” he said.
Boluda Towage Europe, formerly joint venture Kotug Smit Towage, selected Union Koala based on the available space in the tugboat’s engineroom for installing the SCR system.
But there were still challenges to this retrofit, said ABC aftersales department manager Gert van den Steene.
“The project posed quite a challenge in that we needed to set up and install a complete SCR system on board an existing tug with a complex engineroom, while retaining the tug’s operational and practical functions,” said Mr van den Steene.
Boluda Towage Europe was already a leader in environmental towage with a fleet of green tugs that provide low-emissions operations in European ports. It operates five hybrid tugboats, three of which are Rotortugs (RT): RT Adriaan, RT Evolution, RT Emotion, Adventure and Experience.
Solutions for tackling maritime air pollution will be presented at a series of Riviera Maritime Media conferences in 2020, the first Maritime Air Pollution conference is set to be held in Miami, Florida on 5-6 March.