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Antwerp-Bruges’ Damen contract to include Europe’s first, all-electric tug

Antwerp-Bruges’ Damen contract to include Europe’s first, all-electric tug

(Posted on 11/10/23)

The Port of Antwerp-Bruges has placed an order with Damen Shipyards for five diesel-powered RSD Tugs 2513 fitted with the Damen Marine NOx Reduction System, and one electric RSD-E Tug 2513. This is part of the ongoing renewal of its fleet. Port of Antwerp-Bruges bought the first diesel RSD Tugs 2513 three years ago and their performance has paved the way for this new order.

Port of Antwerp-Bruges is following in the footsteps of the Port of Auckland and other leaders in the market in supporting the development of low and zero emission propulsion systems. It’s new RSD-E Tug 2513 will be the first all-electric tug to operate in Europe and it will be working in one of the world’s busiest ports. As a result, the towage industry will be watching it closely to see how its electric propulsion stands up to the high-pressure environment.

IMO Tier-III compliance, reduced noise levels and all-round capability were all contributory factors to this latest order. In addition to minimising their environmental footprint in and around the port, the six new tugs will be fitted with extensive fire-fighting capabilities that can be used to support the Antwerp’s land-based fire-fighting teams. With building already underway, the vessels will be delivered between late 2024 and early 2025, with the RSD-E Tug 2513 being the first. Damen will also be delivering the charger and onshore electrical infrastructure for the new arrival.

“With the purchase of these new energy-efficient tugs, we have reached another milestone on our way to a green fleet,” says Rob Smeets, Chief Operations Officer Port of Antwerp-Bruges. “Our ambition is to be carbon-neutral by 2050 by pursuing various sustainability paths and daring to pioneer innovative technologies. These tugs are a prime example of what our sustainable future should look like.”

“This is a landmark in the adoption of all-electric tugs as mainstream harbour towage solutions,” says Vincent Maes,” Damen Area Sales Manager Benelux. “Port of Antwerp-Bruges’s support of our advanced tug solutions plays an important role in introducing them to the wider market and it is, as always, a pleasure to work with a client who shares Damen’s vision of a sustainable future.”

Port of Antwerp-Bruges is also converting one of its existing tugs to methanol propulsion and another to use hydrogen, all part of its leadership role in identifying the most effective solutions from the alternatives currently available. These programmes and others have the goal of enabling it to meet the 2040 and 2050 emissions targets and give other ports the confidence to do the same.

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