Astilleros Gondán has delivered a third LNG-fuelled escort tug to Norwegian shipowner Østensjø Rederi, completing the series of ground-breaking dual-fuel tugs.
Audax was delivered to the owner after completing sea trials. It will join two other LNG-fuelled tugs, Dux and Pax, that Østensjø operates at Statoil’s LNG production terminal at Melkøya, Hammerfest in northern Norway.
These are RAstar 4000-DF class tugs designed by Robert Allan. They are 40.2 m escort tugs that can operate in extreme sea and weather conditions at temperatures down to -20˚C. They have a free running speed of 15 knots and comply with IMO Tier III emissions standards.
Audax was classed by Bureau Veritas with a 107 tonnes bollard pull and 167 tonnes steering force. It is outfitted for a crew of eight with the accommodation isolated from noise and vibration.
Among their duties, they will conduct approximately 300 LNG ship escorts annually, will assist with berthing operations and will be maintained in readiness for emergency services such as long-line towing, fire-fighting, and oil spill response.
Gondán commercial manager Daniel Scavuzzo told Tug Technology & Business that their construction was challenging because of the lack of rules and regulations concerning LNG tugs and especially venting systems and placement of LNG fuel. “It was a steep learning curve for us,” he added. He said there had been interest from other tug operators for the construction of LNG-fuelled tugs, but no firm commitments as yet.