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Tug Technology & Business

Asia takes an LNG technology lead

Tue 08 May 2018 by Martyn Wingrove

Asia takes an LNG technology lead
Rolls-Royce is supplying hybrid systems for a tug ordered by Baydelta Maritime

Asia is taking over the lead in building and operating LNG-fuelled from the early adopters in Europe

There are at least five tugs on order, identified by Tug Technology & Business, for operations in east and southeast Asia, starting later this year, while the majority of the identified hybrid tug construction projects are for operations in the Americas.

There is more penetration of LNG and hybrid propulsion technologies than a year ago, but these technologies still feature in a minority of tug newbuilding projects. Last year, European operators were leading the way in utilising dual-fuelled tugboats. For example, Østensjø Rederi begun operating three LNG-fuelled escort tugs in northern Norway to assist gas carriers attending Statoil’s LNG production terminal near Hammerfest.

In May 2017, there were six gas-powered tugs in service and eight on order. By April 2018, that had changed to 11 in service and seven on order. Additions to the operating fleet since May 2017 were Østensjø’s Dux, Pax and Audax, Hai Yang Shi You for China National Offshore Oil Corp (CNOOC) and Elemarateyah in Dubai Maritime City.

Confirmed on order this year are four LNG-fuelled tugs in Singapore, which will be becoming a leader in LNG tug construction and operations within a year or two. Keppel Singmarine had two LNG-fuelled tugs under construction this year, of which the first was christened KST Liberty on 25 April (see page 55). Keppel Singmarine has a second tugboat almost ready for launch for Maju Maritime, scheduled for delivery in July 2018.

In addition to this, PSA Marine announced plans in December 2017 to add two dual-fuel tugs by the end of 2019. It has not yet confirmed which shipyard will be building these, but did confirm that Pavilion Gas will provide LNG bunker supplies.

Japanese companies have teamed up to operate the first LNG-fuelled tug in that nation. Mitsui OSK Lines ordered a dual-fuel tug from Kanagawa Dockyard Co in Q4 2017. It is due to be operated by Nihon Tug-Boat Co in Osaka Bay from Q2 2019. LNG fuel will be supplied by Osaka Gas, which is setting up a bunkering service in the Sakai-Senboku Port.

Around a year later than that, there should be an LNG-fuelled articulated tug and barge (ATB) unit operating in the US. Quality Liquefied Natural Gas Transport (Q-LNG) ordered this ATB with Wärtsilä systems from VT Halter Marine for delivery in 2020. This will then be used to supply LNG to cruise ships operating off Florida.

Hybrid impact

US owners are also taking early steps in building tugs with hybrid propulsion, involving batteries. Baydelta Maritime has ordered a hybrid tug with Rolls-Royce systems from Nichols Brothers Boat Builders. This will be designed by Jensen Maritime, a subsidiary of Crowley Maritime. This Delta-class harbour tug will be built in Washington state and deployed on the US West Coast to escort and assist container ships from Q1 2019.

In South America, Grand Port Maritime de Guyane, a joint venture between De Boer Remorquage and Iskes Towage & Salvage, will be operating, likely in 2019, a hybrid tug with Veth hybrid drives once it is built by Damen Shipyards in Europe.

Another South American operator, Petrocity, plans to operate at least one hybrid tug in a new port facility being built in São Mateus, Brazil. This will be based on the Wärtsilä HYTug design and could be in service by 2020 if a contract is awarded this year.

Wärtsilä is also involved in a hybrid tug projects in Europe. It is supplying hybrid diesel-electric propulsion to an icebreaking tug that Astilleros Gondán is building for the Swedish Port of Luleå on the Gulf of Bothnia in the northern Baltic Sea. This is scheduled to begin ship escort duties early in 2019. It also gained an order from Rimorchiatori Riuniti for a Wärtsilä HYTug for Mediterranean operations.

Details of these projects can be found through searches on this website. Tables summarising these projects will be in the upcoming issue of Tug Technology & Business.

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