Damen Shipyards has ramped up production of its new reverse stern drive (RSD) tugs in response to a worldwide increase in demand for the manoeuvrable vessel design
Dutch-headquartered shipbuilding group Damen Shipyards has produced two RSD 2513 design tugs for European operations in the last two years at its shipyard in Romania for operations in Belgium and in the Netherlands.
However, the demand outlook for the tug design is increasing in number and geographic scope. Damen’s next order for the tug, also built at its Romanian shipyard, is a full baker’s dozen. The 13 new tugs will be delivered to Jawar Al Khaleej for its tanker-manoeuvring operations in Iraq.
Damen Benelux sales manager Joost van der Weiden told Tug Technology & Business how demand for RSD tugs has increased based on the quality of its performance in harbour operations.
“Our Mark-2 RSD tugs are more powerful with 85 tonnes of bollard pull,” said Mr van der Weiden. “To achieve this, we increased the engine size and installed larger propellers, increasing diameter from 2.7 m to 3 m in the Mark-2.”
RSD tugs are designed to provide ship handling and towage from both fore and aft ends of the hull, which is different to azimuth stern drive (ASD) tugs.
Damen redesigned the hull of its RSDs for improved performance over tractor and ASD tugs. “These are compact and powerful tugs that can handle high bollard pull,” said Mr van der Weiden.
“RSDs can operate in both directions in ports, which is very positive for customers. They can side-step with higher speeds (6 knots) than traditional ASDs because there is no centre line skeg.”
Instead of centre line skegs, RSD tugs have flat bottom hulls and twin fins at the stern as patented by Damen.
Damen has also included its new human-machine interfaces and remote monitoring technology in the RSD tugs. The technology is installed in its new ASDs that are built in Damen’s shipyards in Romania, the Netherlands and Vietnam.
Mr van der Weiden was involved in the development and project management for the RSD tugs; the first of these, Innovation, is operating in Rotterdam.
The second RSD built was delivered to Multraship Towage for operating in Antwerp, Belgium.
“All of our first series is built in Romania and our Mark-2 RSD tugs are being built in Vietnam,” Mr van der Weiden said during the Europort exhibition in Rotterdam, last week. “Five were built in Romania, plus four are being built in Vietnam, with the majority of these already sold,” he said. “There is demand which is why we are building the Mark-2 series.”
Damen’s Mark-1 RSD 2513 tugs have bollard pull of around 70 tonnes from pairs of Caterpillar 3516 engines generating total power of 4,480 kW. The 24.7 m tugs have beams of 13.1 m and top speed of 13 knots.
Three RSD 2513 tugs built for Jawar Al Khaleej were outfitted at Albwardy Damen as part of the 13-tug order from the Middle East tug owner.
Of the six ASD tugs in the order, four were ASD 2813 design tugs and two 32 m tugs were built to an ASD 3212 design. All six ASD tugs have escort towing notation and FiFi1 fire-fighting systems.
Albwardy Damen also outfitted three 22-m Stan Tugs 2208 and a 26-m Shoalbuster 2609 vessel for Jawar Al Khaleej.
All of the Jawar Al Khaleej tugs will support tankers loading crude at offshore terminals in Iraq.
New vessel designs will be presented at Riviera Maritime Media’s Annual Offshore Support Journal Conference, Awards and Exhibition in London in February and in future Smart Tug Operations conferences