After what seemed an age, the world’s first Carrousel Rave tug began commercial operations in January. There has been, quite rightly, a lengthy trial and testing period since it left the Dutch shipyard. But now it is in service, the tug and towage industry will be able to see its capabilities.
The biggest questions will be whether Novatug’s Multratug 32 meets the designer’s expectations in terms of safety and efficiency, and whether it is commercially viable. Time will tell, but the sea trials suggested that these performance improvements can be achieved. The addition of a sister tug, Multratug 33, scheduled for May this year, will also help the cause.
Multratug 32 is on long-term lease to Multraship Towage & Salvage and started operations in the Netherlands at the end of January. It was designed by Robert Allan in co-operation with Voith Schneider and Novatug, built by Damen Shipyards and classed by Bureau Veritas.
At the heart of this tug is a patented carrousel system, which is a towing winch on a steel ring. This consists of a base structure surrounded by a ring that can rotate freely 360° in the horizontal plane around the tug’s deckhouse. This carries a towing winch that can tilt vertically 45˚ so the winch can always be aligned with the towing line, providing optimal control.
In addition to this, Multratug 32 has two Voith Schneider propellers arranged inline, which means the tug can have a slender hull without affecting its stability. They enable the towline force to be continuously controlled safely and precisely via Voith electronic controls in the wheelhouse. This propulsion generates up to 77 tonnes of bollard pull.
Multraship Towage & Salvage managing director Pepijn Nuijten said the Carrousel Rave design improves crew safety and reduces fuel consumption. He said that fuel consumption savings can amount to at least 25% on an average operation involving a seagoing vessel. Multratug 32 also uses an environmentally friendly fuel that lowers carbon emissions by up to 45%. These were presumably achieved during the sea trials.
These Carrousel Rave tugs could be the beginning of a trend in new tug designs, especially if they actually meet expectations. Novatug plans to market smaller versions of the Carrousel Rave tug design to other operators. But for now, all eyes will be on Multratug 32 as it demonstrates its towage performance and stability in all weather conditions.