'Tug Drone': KOTUG Pilots Innovative Line Transfer Solution

May 17, 2024

The Netherlands based marine towage provider KOTUG announced it has successfully piloted its innovative Tug Drone technology, performing a line transfer using an aerial drone.

KOTUG said it worked with another Dutch company, unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) experts SKEYE, to perform a line transfer over 400 meters from a tugboat to the helideck of Heerema’s crane vessel Thialf.

(Photo: KOTUG)
(Photo: KOTUG)

For serveral years, KOTUG has been exploring the use of aerial drones to improve safety and efficiency, and the company said the recent demonstration marks a decisive step toward the integration of drone capabilities in its daily tug service, for the delivery of a messenger line to a predetermined location.

The Tug Drone solution was conceived as a means to reduce the risk of accidents, including crew member injuries and damage to both the tug and assisted vessel. 

In a traditional line transfer, tugboat crews position themselves in front of and close to the assisted vessel to grab the heaving line by hand, placing them in the danger zone near the (flared) bow of the vessel. KOTUG's Tug Drone instead delivers the messenger line directly to the assisted ship, allowing the tug to sail safely alongside rather than in front of the vessel.

KOTUG said it plans to work with SKEYE on the partners' first Tug Drone project in Guyana starting in the third quarter of this year.

Related News

India Approves $9-billion Port to Boost Trade with Europe Trauma from Red Sea Attacks Adds to Seafarer Shortage Boluda Bolsters Its Gibraltar Tug Fleet Shell to Buy Singapore’s Pavilion Energy UK’s Portland Port Orders Damen’s Tug