Damen’s first all-electric harbour tug, an RSD-E Tug 2513, with 70t bollard pull, has been handed over to its new owner, Ports of Auckland (POAL) in New Zealand.
The tug had been known as ‘Sparky’, but has now received its Māori name, Tiaki. The 25m tug is capable of manoeuvring even the largest vessels and can undertake two or more assignments before being recharged, which takes two hours. New Zealand is known for its commitment to sustainable development. In 2016, POAL adopted the goal of becoming a zero emissions port by 2040 and, in light of the impetus to tackle climate change, the port authority challenged Damen to develop a fully electric tug. Over the course of the next six years the two organisations worked closely to develop this pioneering, sustainable vessel type.
POAL GM Marine and Multi Cargo Operations, Allan D’Souza, said: “It is wonderful to have Sparky here in Auckland and to be able to get aboard and put her through her paces. We held a blessing ceremony with local Māori iwi (tribe) Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei, as a final step before we officially start operations. As part of the blessing, Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei gave Sparky her Māori name, Tiaki, which means to care for people or place, in recognition of her role in reducing emissions and our port’s impact on the environment.”
Damen CEO said: “I’m very proud about the fact that we can use our expertise together with our client to develop new sustainable ways of keeping ports operational, while lowering the impact on the environment as much as possible. Ports of Auckland is aiming to become a zero emissions port by 2040 and its ambitions align with Damen’s, as we continue our efforts to become the most sustainable shipbuilder in the world.”
Pim Schuurman, Damen Regional Sales Manager Asia Pacific, added: “Ports of Auckland has taken a bold step in pioneering the use of fully electric harbour tugs and it is an honour to have worked with them on this project. We hope that in the future we will be able to look back and see that Sparky marked the beginning of a significant shift from diesel to clean, zero emissions electric tugs.”