Tug builders are collaborating with Robert Allan naval architects to produce new tug designs with green propulsion, greater power and optimised hullforms
Turkish shipyards and naval architects are leading the field in producing innovative tugs to specific owner and environmental requirements.
They have produced LNG-powered tugs, tugs with hybrid propulsion and high bollard pull and now the first all-electric tug.
The major shipyards use Robert Allan designs for their tug newbuildings. Three of these, Med Marine, Sanmar and Uzmar adapt these designs for their own fleet requirements and for their clients. Changes include hullform, accommodation, manoeuvrability and tug performance.
Sanmar has used Robert Allan designs to build tugs for 25 years, building more than 210 tugs to around 20 different Robert Allan designs.
Tugs are jointly engineered for newbuilding projects according to custom specifications, says Sanmar vice president Ali Gurun.
“Every Sanmar tug is jointly developed with Robert Allan according to Sanmar standards and that is why they are now being named with the Sanmar Exclusive (SX) prefix,” Mr Gurun explains to Tug Technology & Business.
“Our tugs have dozens of upgrades from sound insulation to engine and thruster applications, from electrical improvements to piping, from window thickness to paint thickness, our tugs are very special.” Many of these tugs have azimuth stern drive (ASD) propulsion configuration, while others are tractor tugs and some are combinations of these two – azimuth tractor drive tugs.
“Fuel efficiency and lower emissions, low maintenance requirements and cost optimisation have become important factors”
Design specifications have evolved from Sanmar’s own tug operating experience from client input, particularly from major tug owners such as Svitzer, which has ordered 25 tugs from Sanmar over the years.
“Throughout the years we have concentrated on increasing quality, manoeuvrability, crew comfort and safety and vessel performance,” Mr Gurun explains. “Now, fuel efficiency and lower emissions, low maintenance requirements and cost optimisation have become important factors.”
So are requirements from regulators and classification societies. “We align our newbuild tugs and new designs according to the potential buyers’ requirements, while new regulations, flag and class rules are also pushing us to evolve our tugs,” says Mr Gurun. “Also, new equipment from our suppliers always provokes us to adopt them for new designs.”
Sanmar is also developing tug innovation for its own fleet and its clients. “We like engineering challenges,” he says. Sanmar built the first single-fuel LNG-powered tugs and the first to be controlled remotely, which TTB has witnessed. It also produced the first tug with hydro-mechanical hybrid propulsion with Caterpillar’s advanced variable drive – Boğaçay XXXVIII started manoeuvring ships in Izmit Bay, Turkey, in Q1 2020.
“We also built the first Voith Tractor tug incorporating electronic controls, high-speed engines, carbon-fibre shafts and remote clutches,” says Mr Gurun. “We patented a wheelhouse control system for Tractor-Z tugs and built the first ice-breaking capability escort tugs in Turkey.”
Alfons Håkans ordered two TundRA 3200 design tugs from Sanmar in 2019 for operations in the northern Baltic Sea and Gulf of Bothnia from Q4 2020.
Med Marine is also building ice-breaking tugs for the first time at its Eregli Shipyard, Turkey. These 30-m tugs will be built to TundRA 3000 design, with Finnish-Swedish ice class 1A status and 60 tonnes of bollard pull. The first of these could be ready for delivery in Q4 2020 and the second in Q1 2021.
Med Marine passed a new milestone in design, engineering and construction when it secured a contract to build a powerful emergency response, salvage and harbour tug.
Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) has ordered a new tug with up to 120 tonnes of bollard pull for its operations in Mombasa port. Med Marine worked with the client and Robert Allan to adapt the brand-new RAstar 4200 naval design to become a MED A42120 tug design for this project.
This ASD tug will have an overall length of 42 m, moulded beam of 16 m and draught of 7.2 m. It will be the largest and most powerful tugboat operating on Africa’s Indian Ocean coast when it is delivered in Q4 2021.
It will be ready for coastal towage, search and rescue and salvage duties off east Africa and will handle the largest ships docking in Mombasa.
Med Marine business development manager Muhammet Gökhan says the shipyard’s experience of building tugs and chemical tankers will enable it to construct this “specially built and equipped” tug for KPA’s operational needs. “This will be one of the largest RAstar series tugs designed by Robert Allan,” he says.
“This RAstar 4200 (MED - A42120) will be a welcome addition to our product line. The project marks a vital first step for Med Marine as it signals the beginning of potential long-term co-operation with KPA,” Mr Gökhan adds.
Robert Allan contracts manager Oben Naki says the naval architects have worked with Med Marine for more than 20 years on tug engineering and construction. “We are eager to prove our ability to design this highly customised vessel for KPA,” he says. “We worked very closely with KPA and Med Marine to maximise the operational flexibility and level of safety and redundancy, which is hard to achieve with a smaller vessel.”
Uzmar Shipyard has built its expertise in constructing harbour and escort tugs through its co-operation with Robert Allan. Its latest orders were for two harbour and emergency response ASD tugs for Turkey’s Directorate General of Coastal Safety.
These 32-m tugs will be built to RAstar 3200W design, each with around 80 tonnes of bollard pull. They will be used for ship rescue and escort, towage and port services, fire-fighting and stand-by duties from 2021.
Uzmar also secured a contract in May 2020 to build an ASD harbour tug to a RAmparts 3000- series design for Port of Aarhus, Denmark. This was adapted with FiFi1 class fire-fighting system to assist the East Jutland Fire Department from the waterside.
In another deal, Uzmar is building two 32-m ASD escort tugs to berth LNG carriers in El Salvador. These will be built to RAstar 3200W design with 75 tonnes of bollard pull for SAAM Towage to operate in the Energía del Pacífico LNG terminal. These will be similar to SAAM Tsimshian Warrior, a RAstar 3200W design escort tug Uzmar built for berthing gas tankers at the AltaGas terminal in British Columbia.
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