While the advent of gas as power in the marine market is growing increasinly common, most every installation is actually "dual fuel", meaning the vessel is able to use LNG or traditional diesel fuel to power the boat. This weekend in Turkey, however, marked a significant turning point perhaps in the adoption of LNG as fuel in commercial marine vessels, as Rolls-Royce reports that Sanmar Shipyard’s completed a world first: a purely gas powered tug. The ceremony was held in Istanbul, Turkey, this weekend. Sanmar completed the first of two tugs for Norway’s Buksér og Berging, which each feature two Rolls-Royce Bergen C26:33L6PG engines fueled purely by liquefied natural gas (LNG).
The first boat, named Borgøy, will enter service next month following a series of sea trials. It will be operated by Norwegian state oil company Statoil at its Kårstø gas terminal.
The Rolls-Royce propulsion package includes the gas tank and supply system and two of the latest design US35 azimuth thrusters that ensure the tugs have rapid manoeuvring and positioning capabilities – essential for tug operation.
Neil Gilliver, Rolls-Royce, President – Merchant, said: “The completion of this vessel is highly significant for Rolls-Royce, Sanmar Shipyard and Buksér og Berging. We are extremely proud to have worked together on this successful project which heralds a new era for tug boat propulsion.
“Gas is gaining in popularity as a maritime fuel, and its environmental credentials, combined with lower costs are seeing many operators select it over traditional fuels, across a range of ship types.
“Most of the world’s tug fleets operate close to shore, where emissions regulations are most stringent. As LNG becomes more widely available, I have no doubt that many major ports will soon opt for this clean, lower cost and smoke-free fuel to power their tugs.”
The combination of Rolls-Royce gas engines and the latest thruster design, mean that the Borgøy and its sister vessel’s CO2 emissions, will be around 30 per cent lower than conventionally-fuelled tugs. They will also comply with all known future emission regulations.