International classification society Bureau Veritas has worked closely with the towing industry to develop a set of Guidelines for Design, Construction and Operation of Tugs. The Guidance Note provides safety rules for tugs in an area of marine safety where there are many vessels not covered by international conventions, with no established framework.
Gijsbert de Jong, Bureau Veritas’ Business Development Manager for offshore service vessels and tugs said, “Active involvement with industry stakeholders was vital to building these rules. They are pragmatic and they are developed around the latest technical developments with an open mind towards innovation.”
Bureau Veritas has worked in close cooperation with several industry leaders, including Robert Allan Ltd, Damen Shipyards, Smit Lamnalco/Smit Towage and Kotug International, building the new framework based on feedback from individuals who having past experience working with the SafeTug JIP.
The rules allow designers and builders to select an operational profile and safely configure the tug accordingly. The requirements cover design loads, stability criteria, strength and operational criteria for towing equipment and anchor equipment. For ships not covered by the SOLAS Convention, a practical safety matrix with requirements for fire safety, life-saving appliances, radio installations and navigation equipment is included which takes into account the familiarity of the crew with the operating area and the availability of shore facilities and emergency assistance.
The limits of the tug’s design are clearly stipulated. For harbour and seagoing tugs, the maximum bollard pull will be indicated, while for escort tugs the maximum steering force, braking force and escort speed will be stated.
De Jong said, “Bureau Veritas is the world leader in the classification of tugs, with over 1,650 tugs in class and 300 newbuilding tugs on its order book. That represents a 22 percent market share of IACS-classed tugs. The global market for tugs is changing quickly as ship sizes increase. There are also more offshore terminal operations, broader escort requirements and increased pressure to reduce emissions. One of the issues facing the tug industry is a lack of clear global safety guidelines and rules. BV’s new Guidelines for Design, Construction and Operation of Tugs will set a new baseline for all tug builders and operators and help make the whole industry safer and more effective.”