The Port of Antwerp-Bruges is set to enhance its fleet with the acquisition of six new tugs, marking a significant step towards innovation and sustainability in maritime operations. Among these vessels is a groundbreaking addition – an electric tug, a first of its kind in Europe. This move aligns with the port’s commitment to renewing and greening its fleet, emphasizing the use of sustainable and energy-efficient vessels.
Five Diesel-Powered RSD Tugs and One RSD-E
The purchase includes five diesel-powered RSD tugs that will replace existing tugs. However, the real game-changer is the electric version, the RSD-E, expected in the fall of 2024. The diesel versions will follow shortly afterward in the spring of 2025. Damen Shipyards, a leading shipbuilder, is responsible for the delivery of these sustainable vessels.
With the RSD-E, Port of Antwerp-Bruges becomes the first European port with a fully electric tug with 70 tons of pulling power in its fleet. An impressive 1.5MW charging station will be installed at the operational headquarters NOC (Nautical Operational Cluster), allowing the 2,782 MWh batteries to be fully charged in just two hours.
Reversed Stern Drive or RSD
The tug is designed according to the double-bow principle and is equipped with a patented double Twin Fin skeg, which provides improved navigational properties. As a result, it can be dynamically used as both a forward and rear tug. Moreover, thanks to its specific design, the tug is more energy-efficient and is equipped with a nitrogen oxide filter. In September 2020, Port of Antwerp-Bruges acquired its first RSD tug, followed by two more.
In addition to using this technology, the Hydrotug and Methatug, the world’s first tugs powered by hydrogen and methanol respectively, will also make their debut soon. These projects are part of a comprehensive greening program for the fleet and underline the ambition to be a climate-neutral port by 2050.
Rob Smeets, Chief Operations Officer of the Port of Antwerp-Bruges, expressed, “With the purchase of these new energy-efficient tugs, we have reached another milestone on our way to a green fleet. 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.”
Annick De Ridder, Vice-Mayor of the City of Antwerp and President of the board of directors of Port of Antwerp-Bruges, added, “With six new tugs, including one electric, we are renewing and greening our own fleet. We highly value 100% deployability and energy efficiency. Besides the European premiere of an electric tug, there will soon be world premieres: the first tugs on hydrogen and methanol!”
Source Port of Antwerp Bruges