Major newbuilding contracts in recent weeks herald a renaissance in Japanese tug construction and a bonus for one engine supplier
Japanese tug construction has been boosted by orders from Indian and domestic operators requiring more powerful vessels to handle larger ships.
Kanagawa Zosen has secured orders to construct a fleet of tugs for Indian and Japanese owners in recent weeks.
According to BRL Shipping Consultants, Adani Group booked seven powerful 495-gt tugs with the shipbuilder. These 34.5-m harbour tugs are scheduled for delivery between June 2020 and December 2021.
They will have breadth of around 11.5 m and draught of about 4 m, but little else is revealed at this stage.
Kanagawa Zosen also gained orders from Fukushima Kisen for two 260-gt tugs. These 37.2-m harbour tugs will have a breadth of just over 10 m and a 4-m depth. They are expected to be delivered in Q1 2020 and Q2 2021.
On top of these orders, Kanagawa Zosen won a contract to build a 290-gt, 40-m harbour tug to be delivered to Kaisho Marine in mid-2020.
These orders were also a boost for engine manufacturer Niigata as each tug newbuilding will have a pair of main diesel engines from the Japanese supplier.
The tugs for Adani will each have a pair of Niigata 6L28AHX diesel engines, each able to develop 2,992 kW or power at 2,200 rpm.
Fukushima Kisen’s tugs and the Kaisho tug newbuilding will have two Niigata 6L28HX engines, which produce 2,040 kW of power at 1,500 rpm.
Similar Niigata engines were installed on a new terminal and fire-fighting tug Naikai Tug Boat Service Co brought into service in Japan in Q2 2019. That tug and safety patrol vessel, Amata Maru, was built by Daizo Corp with a bollard pull of around 60 tonnes and a total power output of 3,281 kW.
Its pair of Niigata 6L28HX main engines drive two ZP-31 azimuthing propellers, providing this 226-gt tug with a top speed of 14.8 knots.
Naikai Tug Boat Service’s tugs provide escort and berthing duties for LNG carriers and tankers at Japanese import terminals and offer coastal pollution protection.
Globally the race is on for more powerful tugs to allow ports to keep pace with bigger ships hoping to call at more ports.
So far this year, 68 tugs have been ordered worldwide.
According to BRL Shipping Consultants there are around 300 tugs under construction or on order, of which more than a third are at shipyards in east, south and southeast Asia.
Smart tug operations and propulsion technologies will be discussed at Riviera Maritime Media’s Smart Tug Operations Conference on 16 September 2019, in Singapore.