Construction Begins for Ports of Auckland's All-Electric Tug

damen lays keel for all electric tug
Masks and distancing were not required by Vietnamese regulations, as the country has not had a new COVID-19 case in nearly three months (Damen)

Published Jul 9, 2020 5:09 PM by The Maritime Executive

On Tuesday, Damen's Song Cam Shipyard held the keel-laying ceremony for the world's first full size fully-electric harbor tug. The new vessel is under construction for the Ports of Auckland, New Zealand, as part of the port's ambition to reach zero-emissions operation by 2040. 

“We are very excited to make a start on the construction of this innovative vessel. We are also very proud to be maintaining our schedule during this challenging time when the coronavirus pandemic continues around the world. This is due to the enormous efforts our staff have gone to in order to ensure a safe working environment," said Joris van Tienen general director of Damen Song Cam Shipyard. 

The ceremony took place in full compliance with current Vietnamese social distancing requirements. As Vietnam has not had a new reported case of COVID-19 in more than 80 days, its government has relaxed its requirements for masks and minimum personal distance, and participants could gather much as they might have in the pre-pandemic era. 

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.

The tug is a fully electric version of Damen’s standard RSD Tug 2513, which the firm describes as an efficient and proven hull design. The 25-meter boat will have 70 tonnes of bollard pull - the same as the port's strongest diesel tugboat. She will be able to do three to four ship moves on a full charge, or about three to four hours work. A fast charge will take about two hours. 

The tug will bear a democratically-chosen name: after soliciting suggestions from the general public and carefully curating the responses, the Ports of Auckland held a vote to select from four final choices. More than half of the 8,000 online voters selected "Sparky."