The Port of Antwerp-Bruges has placed an order with Damen Shipyards for five diesel-powered RSD Tugs 2513 fitted with the Damen Marine NOx Reduction System, and one electric RSD-E Tug 2513. The latter will be the first all-electric tug to operate in Europe.

Port of Antwerp-Bruges bought the first diesel RSD Tugs 2513 three years ago and their performance has paved the way for this new order. The new order is part of an ongoing fleet renewal process.

Port of Antwerp-Bruges is following in the footsteps of the Port of Auckland by ordering the RSD-E Tug 2513. This will be the first all-electric tug to operate in Europe and it will be working in one of the world’s busiest ports. As a result, the towage industry will be watching it closely to see how its electric propulsion stands up to the high-pressure environment.

IMO Tier III compliance, reduced noise levels and all-round capability were all contributory factors to this latest order. In addition to minimising their environmental footprint in and around the port, the six new tugs will be fitted with extensive fire-fighting capabilities that can be used to support the Antwerp’s land-based fire-fighting teams.

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Electric tug to be delivered first

With building already underway, the vessels will be delivered between late 2024 and early 2025, with the RSD-E Tug 2513 being the first. Damen will also be delivering the charger and onshore electrical infrastructure for the new arrival.

‘This is a landmark in the adoption of all-electric tugs as mainstream harbour towage solutions,’ says Vincent Maes, Damen area sales manager Benelux. ‘Port of Antwerp-Bruges’s support of our advanced tug solutions plays an important role in introducing them to the wider market.’

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Methanol and hydrogen conversions

Port of Antwerp-Bruges is also converting one of its existing tugs to methanol propulsion and another to use hydrogen. These projects are part of efforts to identify the most effective solutions from the alternatives currently available. These programmes and others have the goal of enabling the port to meet the 2040 and 2050 emissions targets and give other ports the confidence to do the same.

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