B.C. Ship-Assist Operator Orders Three Electric, Two LNG-Fueled Tugs

HaiSea electra

Published May 21, 2021 6:25 PM by The Maritime Executive

A newly-founded ship assist operator in British Columbia has ordered three all-electric tugs and two LNG-powered tugs from Turkish specialists Sanmar Shipyard, adding to the world's small but growing list of battery-powered towing vessels.

HaiSea Marine, a partnership between B.C.'s Haisla Nation and shipbuilder/operator Seaspan, will be providing docking and escort services at the future LNG Canada natural gas export facility in Kitimat. LNG Canada represents the largest single private sector investment in Canadian history, and it is due to open in 2023. In keeping with the reduced-carbon nature of the terminal, HaiSea has ordered two LNG dual-fuel tugs and three smaller battery-electric vessels to provide ship-assist services for the facility. 

Robert Allan Ltd. provided the design for both pace-setting vessels. With a bollard pull of about 100 tonnes, the LNG dual-fuel models will be the most powerful tugs on Canada's West Coast - and, with indirect forces of nearly 200 tonnes in escort operation, among the highest-performance tugs of their kind in the world. The electric harbor tugs will develop about 70 tonnes of bollard pull and will recharge with readily-available, locally produced hydroelectric power - resulting in zero emissions in battery-electric mode.

As a fleet, these escort and harbor tugs are expected to reduce emissions of CO2 by about 10,000 tonnes per year when compared to diesel-powered alternatives, with major reductions of NOX, SOX, CO, and particulate matter as well. 

Sanmar has a long relationship with Robert Allan Ltd., the designer of the two vessels, and has built more than 200 tugs to RAL designs over the years. 

“The start of the Robert Allan-designed Sanmar build program brings HaiSea one step closer to delivering on the promise made to the Haisla Nation when this partnership was conceived over a decade ago. These dual fuel environmentally friendly vessels represent the future – they are revolutionary in both their technology and their ability to create opportunity for the Haisla people. This remains HaiSea’s promise," said Frank Butzelaar, CEO of Seaspan Marine Transportation.