Port of Auckland Ltd (POAL) in New Zealand has declared that it shall be conducting completely emission free operations by the year 2040. One of the major emitters in a port are the ship handling tugs. Therefore, in order to meet its commitments, the port authorities have placed the order for their first all electric ship handling tugs.

These fully electric tugs would be manufactured by the Damen Shipyard in the Netherlands. These are first of their kind tugs on order. The tugs on order are the RSD-E Tug 2513, a zero-emissions derivation of the IMO Tier III-ready RSD Tug 2513. These tugs have a bollard pull capacity of 70 tons. These tugs would be powered by two KONGSBERG US255 L PM FP azimuth thrusters. These thrusters have integrated Permanent Magnet Motors and offer unrivalled manoeuvrability, tough modular construction and proven reliability.

Picture Courtesy Damen Shipyard

Port of Auckland depended on Damen’s capability to build hybrid tugs for developing a fully electric tug. The tug has batteries arranged in strings to provide redundancy so that even if a string fails, the tug will still remain available for operations. The charging station for the tug is based on technology that has already demonstrated it credentials in the automotive industry. It is a simple system which features four cables on the vessel connected to the station. Once connected, the 1.5MW charger takes just two hours to fully charge RSD-E Tug 2513.

To ensure absolute safety, which is of utmost importance in shipping, the tug also has two 1000kW generator sets. They provide enough power for the tug to operate at 40 tonnes bollard pull in the event of an electrical system failure or if the vessel needs to operate beyond its battery capacity. However, this is not a hybrid system. In normal operation, the generators will not be used as the vessel and its battery system has been designed to meet the port’s normal operational needs.

These tugs are based on the RSD Tug 2513, hence expect them to be 24.7 m long with a 13.13 m beam (maximum width) with a draught of 5.5 m and have a top speed of 13 knots (23.4 km/h).