Kotug Smit Towage has added two powerful harbour tugs to ports in the UK to meet rising demand for vessels that can handle ultra-large container ships
A joint venture between Kotug International and Boskalis has expanded its fleet of tugs in two key UK ports to increase its ship-handling capabilities and reduce emissions.
Rising demand for higher-powered tugs in the ports of Liverpool and Southampton led Kotug Smit Towage to mobilise two azimuth stern drive (ASD) tugs from its continental Europe operations to the UK.
One of these tugs is driven by hybrid propulsion which reduces fuel costs for the owner and emissions in the port of Southampton, where air quality is a rising issue.
Hybrid tug Adventure started operations in Southampton on 11 July. It was designed and built by Damen Shipyards in 2016 to an ASD 2810 design. This 28-m, environment-friendly tug has 60 tonnes of bollard pull that is ample for towing ultra-large container ships coming into the port.
Its introduction was followed on 14 July by 2007-built Damen tug Smit Elbe in the port of Liverpool. This ASD 2810 tug also provides 60 tonnes of bollard pull.
It joined five other Kotug Smit Towage tugs in Liverpool, including two with the same sailing profile – Smit Donau and Smit Barbados.
New tugs in Southampton and Liverpool fulfil the ever-growing requirement of shipping companies at these ports said Kotug Smit UK operations general manager Phil Dulson.
“The fleet upgrade improved the age profile and increased the combined bollard pull of our 14 tugs in the UK to 955 tonnes,” he said.
“This shows our commitment to our customer’s needs. Thanks to the great team work and our highly flexible crews, introducing these tugs to their new ports of operation was a seamless transition.”
Introducing a hybrid tug to the Southampton fleet will also be a boost to the UK Government’s Clean Maritime Plan launched in London in July 2019. UK shipping minister Nusrat Ghani visited Kotug Smit’s hybrid tug, RT Evolution on the River Thames in July to see how hybrid technology is already reducing emissions in London.
The Clean Maritime Plan is the UK’s route map to clean growth for the maritime sector and a pathway to zero-emissions shipping.
It will identify ways to tackle air pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions in parallel with highlighting clean growth opportunities for the UK.
Ms Ghani said in the plan launch document, “A cleaner shipping industry will help make the air we breathe cleaner and safer and create a healthy environment for the future.”