Growth in Asian maritime trade is driving owners and port authorities into ordering more powerful tugs. Chinese shipyards continue to benefit from these orders and are using them to upgrade their design capabilities. Tianjin Port in China started increasing its towage capabilities when it ordered four new tugs from Chinese yards in January.
It ordered two azimuth stern drive (ASD) tugs from Sanlin Shipyard in Shanghai and two ASD tugs from Jiangsu Zhenjiang Shipyard. Sanlin Shipyard is building two ASD 35/50 tugs and Jiangsu Zhenjiang Shipyard will construct two ASD 40/40 tugs.
All four will be built to Robert Allan designs and will be constructed to comply with China Classification Society (CCS) requirements for intelligent ship (i-Ship) notation.
This means they will be equipped with smart bridge and engineroom devices, hull lifecycle management, efficiency management and control centre systems. It is understood that these tugs will be the first vessels with i-Ship notation since CCS launched the rules in March 2016.
Jiangsu Zhenjiang was busy with other construction orders, using its own ASD tug designs, during Q4 2017 for other Chinese ports. On 18 January, the shipyard delivered Lan Qiao 9, an ASD tugboat with 3,676 kW of power, to Shandong Lanqiao Port.
The shipbuilder has another of these ASD tugs and another with 5,120 kW of power to complete during Q1 2018. In November 2017, Jiangsu Zhenjiang delivered a 3,676 kW ASD tug to Qinghuangdao Port.
Asian owners invest in LNG tugs
Environmental concerns in ports is pushing owners in Japan and Singapore to order newbuild tugs that can be powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG). Mitsui OSK Lines has ordered an LNG-fuelled tug from Kanagawa Dockyard Co. After it is delivered, 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. MOL will develop a detachable and portable LNG fuel tank for this tug and expects this concept to be used on other ship types in the future.
In Singapore, two dual-fuel LNG harbour tugs are under construction for PSA Marine and due to be delivered in 2019. They will be supplied by Pavilion Gas after it landed the contract in Q4 2017.
PSA Marine will benefit from up to S$2M (US$1.5M) grant for each newbuild tug from the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore, under an initiative to promote LNG bunkering via ship construction projects.