Svitzer explains why it ordered two ice-breaking tugs for its Scandinavian operations and Alfons Håkans has two TundRA tugs under construction in Turkey
Tug owners have ordered new ice-breaking tugs to upgrade their capabilities to keep Scandinavian ports open for maritime trade year-round. Newbuilding tugs were ordered for port operations in Sweden, Finland and Denmark in 2019. This comes after the world’s most powerful hybrid ice-breaking tug, Vilja, entered service in the Port of Luleå, Sweden, during Q3 2019.
Maersk’s Svitzer and Finland-based operator Alfons Håkans turned to Robert Allan naval architects for TundRA ice-breaking tug designs. Svitzer ordered two 30-m ice-breaking tugs of TundRA 3000 design from Med Marine’s Eregli Shipyard, Turkey. These will replace the oldest vessels in Svitzer’s fleet, ice-breaking tugs Svitzer Helios and Svitzer Dynan, which will be retired.
Svitzer’s new icebreakers will be azimuth stern drive (ASD) tugs with Finnish-Swedish ice class 1A status and 60 tonnes of bollard pull. The first is scheduled for delivery in Q4 2020 and the second, Q1 2021.
Svitzer managing director for Scandinavia and Germany Mattias Hellström tells Tug Technology & Business these new tugs will operate predominantly on the west cost of Sweden and the Danish Belts region. They will provide harbour towage and other duties on top of keeping ports free of ice.
Svitzer and Robert Allan co-operated on the design of the tugs based on contractual requirements.
“The design features aim to optimise them for their regular harbour tug duties, while at the same time being efficient icebreakers,” says Mr Hellström, “meeting or exceeding requirements stipulated in Svitzer’s contracts with the Swedish Maritime Authority, covering the Göta river and Lake Vänern, and with the Danish Navy”.
There were specific local dimension challenges to overcome during their design. “The tugs have been tailored to fit through the locks up to Lake Vänern, with beam and depth restrictions being the most challenging,” says Mr Hellström.
“Tugs with ice-breaking capabilities are, in addition to servicing these contracts, used to keep the harbours and quays free of ice to ensure our ports remain functional even in very cold weather,” he adds.
During icing conditions these tugs will ensure vessels can come fully alongside quaysides, allowing safe mooring and facilitating crane handling operations.
“In extreme cases these tugs can also handle keeping fairways open or running ice convoys,” says Mr Hellström.
“With weather becoming more extreme we are likely to see heavy icing in Scandinavian waters going forward.”
These tugs will also comply with the latest environmental emissions requirements of Marpol Tier III for minimal NOx emissions.
With that in mind, Alfons Håkans ordered two TundRA 3200 design tugs from Sanmar Shipyard, in Turkey, in 2019, for year-round operations and ice management in the northern Baltic Sea and Gulf of Bothnia.
These will be 32-m long ice-breaking tugs with a bollard pull of 67 tonnes, classed by Bureau Veritas as escort tugs with Ice Class 1A hulls for Baltic service and a green passport from the EU.
Inside these tugs will be a pair of Caterpillar 3512C main engines, each developing 2,000 kW of power at 1,600 rpm. These will be coupled to Kongsberg Z-drive thrusters type US 255P30, fitted with 260-cm diameter controllable-pitch propellers in nozzles. Both tugs will have two Caterpillar C7.1 generator sets each rated at 118 kW.
In the wheelhouse, there will be ice-navigation equipment and Aqua pilot control levers with a special crawling mode. On the deck there will be a Palfinger hydraulic telescopic knuckle-boom crane. The structure will be reinforced for future installation of a 60-tonne crane. There will also be deck space for a container and other small cargo transfers.
Sanmar held a keel-laying ceremony for the first of these tugs on 19 June 2019. They are expected to enter service in Q4 2020.
Alfons Håkans and its subsidiaries were actively expanding the fleet in 2019. In October, it bareboat chartered two ASD tugs from RB Flote to strengthen harbour towage capacity in Estonia to minimise ship waiting time.
Santa and Stella are both registered in Latvia with 60 tonnes of bollard pull and speeds of 13.2 knots. This comes from two Caterpillar 3516B main engines driving two Kongsberg US255 CP azimuth thrusters.
In June 2019, Alfons Håkans purchased Bogser Team Öresund’s last two tugs, Dunker and Kullen to strengthen its fleet on the Finnish west coast and in Kotka.
In May, Alfons Håkans subsidiary PKL Flote expanded its fleet with a new ASD tug. This was designed by Robert Allan and built at Sanmar shipyard to operate in the Latvian ports of Riga and Ventspils, where it operates six other ASD tugs.
This is a RAmparts 2200 class ASD tugboat with ahead bollard pull of 50 tonnes and speed of 11 knots from main propulsion, rated at 3,000 kW.
TundRA latest delivery
Robert Allan began developing the TundRA series of ice-breaking tugs in 2000 and the first four 34.5-m multi-functional vessels were built for Svitzer’s escort and ship handling operations in Sakhalin Island, eastern Russia.
These were designed to break 85 cm of ice covered with 20 cm of snow at a speed of 3 knots. To achieve this, Robert Allan developed and ice-model tested the hullform.
In 2014 and 2016, two powerful 36-m ice-breaking tugs were designed and built for Canada’s Ocean Industries. These were classed by Lloyd’s Register 1AS Ice Class and designed to break 95 cm of ice covered with 20 cm of snow at 3 knots.
In 2019, a TundRA 3600-H tug, Vilja, became the first hybrid/electric propulsion, ice-breaking harbour tug. It was built by Gondan shipyards, in Spain, for the Port of Luleå to Lloyd’s Register Ice Class 1A Super. This 36-m tug has a bollard pull of 100 tonnes and is capable of continuously breaking 1 m of ice with 20 cm of snow at 3 knots.