On 7th July, in Vietnam, Damen Song Cam Shipyard, together with joint venture partner Song Cam Shipyard hosted a keel-laying ceremony for the electric RSD-E Tug 2513 that Damen is building for the Ports of Auckland, New Zealand. The ceremony was attended by Her Excellency Ms. Wendy Matthews, the ambassador of New Zealand to Vietnam and Her Excellency Ms. Elsbeth Akkerman, the ambassador of the Netherlands to Vietnam. Representatives of the Ports of Auckland attended the ceremony remotely via digital communication.
This is a notable milestone for a very notable vessel – the RSD-E Tug 2513 is the world’s first fully electric tug with 70 tonnes bollard pull.
Following a popular vote in which people were invited to select a name for the new vessel, the Ports of Auckland’s RSD-E Tug 2513 will be named Sparky. Over half of the 8,000 people who participated in the election voted for the name.
As the world strives to reduce emissions, coastal vessels have a much greater ability to transfer to alternative energy through the virtue of shorter voyages and constant home port tie-ups. New build ferries have taken to LNG storage and natural gas fuelled engines, diesel battery plug-in hybrid and fully electric main power sources for propulsion the past couple years. Tugs have been slightly slower on the uptake still primarily relying on the tried and true diesel power as they have for decades.
The Damen Reversed Stern Drive [RSD] 2513 is a 25m (81ft) long, 13m (43ft) wide harbour/escort tug. It’s used to assist in docking large vessels such as container ships. With fully electric propulsion [RSD-E] it’s capable of developing 3800kW (5094bhp) and capable of 70 tonnes (154,300lbs) of bollard pull (towing force) or just under 90% of the capability of it’s diesel brother. Full bollard pull can be sustained for 30min. However, the tug will operate with lower power for much of its work increasing this time needed between charging. The vessel is said to have the designed capability to be fully charged in just 2 hours with a 1.5MW rated charger. It’s able to be operated with a crew of only 2.
The RSD-E has 2 separate banks of batteries that supply power for propulsion; should one bank fail it will switch to the other and continue providing power. 2 - 1000kW (1340bhp) backup generators are also onboard should complete discharge occur or a problem with both battery banks arise. The generator sets will start and provide power automatically in a matter of seconds should battery power be lost. While powered by the generators the tug is able to provide 40 tonnes (88,200lbs) of bollard pull.
The RSD-E 2513 is stated to cost double that of the diesel RSD 2513 but is projected to save $12 million NZD over the diesel version in its lifespan of 25 years.
Oddly, Kiwis decided against Tuggy McTugface. So much for the commonwealth... Here’s discount Morgan Freeman to hype you up: