The Belgium Port of Antwerp-Bruges has announced that it will buy six new tugs from the Dutch shipbuilder Damen Shipyards, including one electric tug, which will be a European first.

The port states that the purchase includes five diesel-powered RSD tugs that will replace existing tugs, but also an electric version, the RSD-E, with 70 tons pulling power which is expected to be delivered in the fall of 2024, with the diesel versions to be delivered afterwards in the spring of 2025.

Due to the order of the RSD-E tug a 1.5MW charging station will be installed at the operational headquarters NOC (Nautical Operational Cluster) of the port, allowing the 2,782 MWh batteries onboard the electric tug to be fully charged in just two hours, as the company mentions.

The Reversed Stern Drive or RSD 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, the Port of Antwerp-Bruges acquired its first RSD tug, followed by two more, and 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 by the Port of Antwerp-Bruges for their fleet and underline the ambition to be a climate-neutral port by 2050.

“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,” said Rob Smeets, Chief Operations Officer Port of Antwerp-Bruges.

“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,” said Annick De Ridder, Vice-Mayor of the City of Antwerp and President of the board of directors of Port of Antwerp-Bruges.