Sembcorp Marine will build 12 tugs for Jurong Marine Services, following pioneering dual-fuel tug owners PSA Marine and Keppel Smit Towage
Singaporean owners are leading the world in adopting LNG and hybrid propulsion to power their tugs, as demonstrated with a potentially huge investment in terms of vessel numbers by Sembcorp Marine.
This shipbuilder has started constructing the world’s first LNG-hybrid powered tug, signalling the beginning of a major fleet renewal with green propulsion vessels.
It is building a harbour tug for Jurong Marine Services with two Rolls-Royce Power Systems-supplied gas engines and a hybrid propulsion system.
Sembcorp Marine intends to build up to 12 tugs with gas engines and hybrid propulsion to replace diesel-powered tugs by 2025. Its subsidiary LMG Marin in Norway designed this tug with 65 tonnes of bollard pull, and it is being built to ABS class ready for completion in Q4 2021.
Rolls-Royce is supplying a pair of 16-cylinder MTU 4000 series M55RN gas engines for the first of these tugs, and most likely the rest of the series. This is the first LNG-hybrid tug to be powered by MTU gas engines worldwide. These engines do not emit any sulphur oxides (SOx), minimal nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate matter, and lower CO2 emissions.
When combined with hybrid propulsion, these tugs will emit even less greenhouse gases.
MTU’s 4000 M55RN gas engines will provide a combined total power of 2,984 kW at 1,600 rpm and come with multipoint fuel injection, dynamic engine control and enhanced turbocharging. LNG-hybrid propulsion will cater for various operational modes, switching between low-emissions gas-powered engines and zero-emissions battery power.
PSA Marine has spent a year operating gas-powered tugs, with PSA Aspen and PSA Oak delivered in 2019-2020, their introduction in parallel with the developing LNG bunkering facilities in Singapore.
These 447-gt tugs were built by PaxOcean Shipyard to Robert Allan RAmparts 2800-DF design and Bureau Veritas class.
PSA Marine fleet management senior manager for engineering Jeffrey Sim says these tugs brought environmental and crew welfare benefits with no difference in performance versus conventional tugs. “We have seen a 22% reduction in CO2 and 15% lower noise levels for better crew comfort, compared with conventional diesel-fuelled tugs,” he says.
“We achieved the same bollard pull performance and there is no difference in maintenance and repair costs.”
However, there are technical and operational challenges with LNG refuelling. “Bunkering takes three times longer than with a conventional diesel tug, so we need to book this up to seven days in advance,” says Mr Sim.
These operations need additional crew to monitor bunkering, and man the bunker station and controls in the engineroom. There are also additional safety protocols, such as quick connect/disconnect cryogenic couplings and hoses for fuel transfer, a water curtain and drip tray and nitrogen gas supply for purging.
Crew also need training to manage bunkering operations, dual-fuel engine maintenance and to maintain onboard LNG storage and handling systems.
PSA followed the lead of Keppel Smit Towage (KST) as it unveiled KST Liberty dual-fuel harbour tug in 2018. Maju Maritime also started operating its new LNG-fuelled tug Maju Loyalty in 2018.
PaxOcean Shipyard has built more tugs since for PSA Marine, though these are conventionally fuelled. During Q4 2020, PSA took delivery of two azimuth stern drive (ASD) escort tugs to support ship berthing and undocking at terminals in Singapore and for coastal towage.
PaxOcean completed tugs PSA Marvel and PSA Valkyrie in October and they were accepted by PSA Marine after sea trials in November 2020.
These deliveries follow two other tugs of a similar design, PSA Thor and PSA Hulk, delivered in 2018. They were built to Robert Allan’s RAmparts 3200 design, with an overall length of 32 m and moulded beam of 12 m, 496 gt, a maximum draft of 5.4 m and top speed of 13.5 knots.
PSA Marvel and PSA Valkyrie achieved a bollard pull of 83.5 tonnes. This comes from two Caterpillar 3516C main diesel engines driving two Schottel SRP 510 Z-drives. Also in the engineroom, are two Cummins CSMTA11 diesel generator sets. Lloyd’s Register classed PSA Marvel and PSA Valkyrie for ship escort, unmanned machinery spaces and fire-fighting FiFi1.
Their deck equipment includes a Rolls Royce ETWH 2000/800 hydraulic hawser winch with a single split-drum on the fore deck. There is a Rolls Royce TW 2000/100 H hydraulic, single-drum winch on the aft deck. These tugs also have a MacGregor MG-HUW-05-UL hydraulic tugger winch and Palfinger PK12000 deck crane.
PSA Marine has also taken delivery of newbuildings from Cheoy Lee Shipyards in the past two years. One of the latest additions, PSA Polaris, was used during trials of autonomous navigation technology in 2020.
In Hong Kong, Yiu Lian Dockyards increased its towage capabilities with two new tugs built by Cheoy Lee in 2020. It delivered Hai Kun in May and Hai Peng in August after building these tugs to a Robert Allan design and Lloyd’s Register class. These are RAstar 3200-CL design escort tugs with a bollard pull of 88 tonnes and top speed of 13.5 knots.
They each have a pair of Niigata 8L28AHX main engines rated at 2,574 kW at 750 rpm driving two Niigata ZP-41B Z-Peller propulsion units with AGCP192Y slipping built-in clutch and 270-cm diameter fixed-pitch propellers. These 492-gt tugs have fire-fighting capabilities to FiFi1 class, with pumps and monitors able to produce 2,400 m3/hr of water.
A spokesman for Cheoy Lee says it is in the middle of building a fleet of five harbour tugs for Tanzania Port Authority, with the first scheduled for delivery in 2021. These will be built to RAmparts 3200-CL design, three with a bollard pull of around 70 tonnes and two of 55 tonnes.
Building spree for Indonesian shipyards
Indonesian shipyards have been exceptionally busy with tug construction as the nation’s ports expand and larger ships dock. Owners are encouraged to invest in Indonesia-built tugs by cabotage rules.
Bandar Abadi was the busiest of all the shipyards, constructing at least five harbour tugs for Pelayaran Gratia Mega Lines and Pelayaran Sinar Gratia.
Patria Maritim Perkasa was also a busy shipyard, completing two pusher tugs for its affiliate, one harbour tug for Cakrawala Nuda Bahari and another for Maritim Barito Perkasa.
Two shipyards – Alusteel and PT Citra – produced three tugs each during 2020. Bintang Manunggal Pratama expanded its fleet with two tugs from Alusteel and Lingga Marintama took two from PT Citra. The other tug built at Alusteel went to Merha Putih, while Indonesia Port Co had one from PT Citra.
There is an array of smaller producers in the nation. Rajang Maju Marine built two harbour tugs for Tanjung Bahari Perkasa and Cahaya Samudra produced two for an unnamed operator. Shipyards Karimun Marine, Asia Adhitama and PT Karya Teknik each produced one tug newbuilding.
Not all tugs introduced into Indonesia were built in that nation. Malaysia-headquartered Forward Marine Enterprise built three tugs for Mitra Tujuh Samudra, one for Santan Prima Bahari and one for PT Habco Primatama.
Owners repair 12 tugs in Brisbane refit facility
Svitzer and Smit Lamnalco retrofitted, updated and maintained tugs operating in Australia in 2020. They sent tugboats to The Yard Brisbane’s shipyard and refit facility for repair and maintenance. According to The Yard’s global marketing and communications manager Lucy Caskey, this facility worked on 12 tugs in 2020, with a large number belonging to Smit Lamnalco and Svitzer. “We also dock tugs for East Coast Maritime, Fodico, Sealink, Port of Brisbane and many others,” she says.
“We have recently celebrated our 22nd Svitzer docking at The Yard since 2015.”
This shipyard has 30 onsite marine specialist tenants and a lifting capacity ranging between 65-600 tonnes using straddle carriers.
Singapore’s outgoing tugs
As tugs are added to the PSA Marine fleet, so some left in 2020. According to Marcon International, PSA Marine sold four sister azimuthing tugs to Ace Marine Services. These tugs – Noble Guard, Noble Star, Noble Synergy and Noble Scout – were built in 2004 by Keppel Singmarine with 2,680 kW of power.
They have a bollard pull of 45 tonnes, derived from two Niigata 6L22HX engines driving Niigata ZP-21RC propulsors. These 246-gt tugs are classed by Lloyd’s Register with FiFi1 fire-fighting systems. They have been renamed Ace Scout, Ace Star, Ace Synergy and Ace Guard.
PSA Marine also sold 2007-built tug Star Discovery to unnamed buyers and it was renamed Sea Force 2 in Thailand. It sold 2008-built Star Opal to Thorensen VI NA Ma Logistics, sailed it to Vung Tau, Vietnam and renamed it Odin.
PSA Marine was not the only tug seller in Singapore, as Britoil Offshore Services sold 2008-built Britoil 23 to Hung Hua Construction Co in Taiwan, who renamed it Orient 7. Bok Seng sold 2013-built tug BS Glory to Jinan Yuxiao Group in Shandong, China. QSA Marine & Logistics purchased 2006-built Sarha and renamed it Harsy in 2020.
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