Editor Martyn Wingrove witnessed this brand-new Damen tug design when it was tested in Southampton, UK this week
Harbour towage will be revolutionised by a new design of tug that can operate in tight ports in both directions.
Damen Shipyards unveiled its new reversed stern drive tug RSD 2513 to UK owners this week in Southampton, in tests that I witnessed.
After seeing its capabilities first hand, I strongly feel this design has a future for operations in ports, terminals and coastal towage.
Innovation is an April 2018-built and Bureau Veritas-classed tugboat designed for towage and ship assistance in harbours from both the stern and bow.
Innovation has a pair of Rolls-Royce MTU engines and US 255 thrusters that enable it to rotate in a close turning circle.
It has a bollard pull of 75 tonnes ahead and 71 tonnes astern and a top speed of 13 knots, which shows it is unique in performance and manoeuvrability.
This was tested with myself on board in tight 360˚ turns and with emergency stops that felt more like being on a fairground ride.
With its ability to operate ahead and astern, and with this manoeuvrability, I expect Damen will be getting orders very soon for RSD-design tugs. It has already produced another one and plans for a series of them in different sizes.
I feel that I have witnessed the future of harbour towage and ship assistance operations and expect a great future for this tug design.