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PSA Marine invests to boost green credentials

Fri 09 Feb 2018 by Clive Woodbridge

PSA Marine invests to boost green credentials
PSA Marine Qalhat operates a fleet of four azimuth stern drive tugs in Oman

One of Asia’s leading tug operators, PSA Marine, has placed orders for its first dual-fuel tugs to reduce emissions in Singapore

PSA Marine operates a fleet of more than 60 escort, harbour and terminal tugs in Asia, with bollard pull ratings of up to 70 tonnes. These are based primarily in Singapore, where it carries out over 90,000 towing jobs a year. PSA also operates in China, Hong Kong, India, Bangladesh, Malaysia and Oman.

Reducing its environmental impact is a top priority for the company. Reflecting that ongoing commitment, PSA Marine announced plans in December 2017 to add to its fleet two new environmentally-friendly dual-fuel tugs by the end of 2019, to further reduce emissions from harbour towage operations in the port of Singapore.

These new tugs, which will be able to run on LNG fuel, are being built with the help of grants of up to S$2M (US$1.5M) for each tug from the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore. One of the new tugs was ordered from an as yet undisclosed shipyard in December last year, and a contract for the second are expected to be concluded in the first quarter of 2018.

PSA Marine managing director, Peter Chew, said the tug operator was a pioneer in owning and operating dual-fuel LNG harbour tugs. “As a responsible corporate citizen, this is one of the ways that we can play our part in reducing carbon footprint and greenhouse gas emissions from our business operations,” he told Tug Technology & Business.

To support the dual-fuel tug initiative, PSA Marine has also recently awarded an LNG bunker supply contract to Pavilion Gas. This Singapore-based company will deliver LNG to the two new tugs with effect from 2019.

Design work for the confirmed tug has been entrusted to Canada’s Robert Allan, a world leader in producing LNG-powered tug designs. It had previously developed the RAstar 4000-DF design for Østensjø Rederi, Norway, and RAstar 3800-DF for Ningbo Port, China. The new tugs for PSA Marine will be the first RAmparts 2800-DF type design to be built.

Close cooperation between Robert Allan and PSA Marine began in 2002, with the design of the initial Z-Tech tug series. At the time of writing, there are several other Robert Allan-designed tugs under construction for PSA Marine at various shipyards around the world.

These include the first of the so-called Z-Tech exclusive design variant, which is the result of collaboration between the two companies. The first of these will be built at Cheoy Lee shipyard in China and are expected to be delivered in Q4 2018. The hullform and deck layout of the new design were unchanged from the basic version, however, the design features a restyled deckhouse and wheelhouse.

As well as extending its fleet to encompass dual-fuel technology, PSA Marine is also in the process of broadening the geographic spread of its operations. A new subsidiary, PSA Marine Bangladesh, has been awarded a 15-year contract by Summit LNG to provide berthing, mooring, pilot and personnel transfer services to ships calling at a floating regasification terminal in Moheskhali. PSA Marine plans to deploy three escort tugs and a fast crew boat and offshore supply vessel for the contract. Operations are expected to commence in Q1 2019.

Mr Chew explained that the company’s track record in providing towage services to LNG terminals include an LNG terminal in Jurong, Singapore and the Oman LNG terminal. One of its existing LNG operations, PSA Marine Qalhat, is a joint venture between PSA Marine and Golden Dunes International and operates a fleet of four azimuth stern drive tugs.

It serves the maritime services requirements of Oman LNG and reached the milestone of having all 51 of its tug crew members as Omani nationals in January this year. When it started operations in January 2015, around 50% of its crew were Omanis and it has achieved its 100% Omani target much quicker than originally anticipated by focussing on training and developing the local workforce.

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