Electric Tug Sparky Chistened in Auckland
Sparky, a new all-electric ship handling tugboat, has been christened in Auckland, New Zealand.
The RSD-E Tug 2513 was built at Damen Song Cam Shipyard in Vietnam for owner Ports of Auckland. Equipped with 2,784 kWh of batteries, the 70 tonne bollard pull harbor tug can undertake two or more assignments before being recharged—which takes about two hours—entirely emissions-free.
In 2016, Ports of Auckland adopted the goal of becoming a zero emissions port by 2040, and its new tug Sparky is a key part of this green agenda, according to Roger Gray, CEO of Ports of Auckland.
"Sparky is the first e-tug of its type in the world and was a truly innovative project for us. Her arrival marks a big step towards the ports' decarbonization of operations and towards our long-term emissions reduction goals," Gray said.
Allan D'Souza, GM Marine and Multi Cargo Operations at Ports of Auckland, has been leading the e-tug project for the port. "Back in 2016, when we first pitched the idea for a fully electric tug, we were told we were dreaming," he said. "To see Sparky in real life like this is that dream coming true."
"You'll be able to spot Sparky on the water as her superstructure is painted bright green, unlike our diesel tugs. What you won't notice is noise or smoke; being electric she's a lot quieter, and cleaner, than our current diesel tugs," D'Souza added.
Arnout Damen, CEO of Damen, said, “I'm very proud about the fact that we can use our expertise together with our client to develop new sustainable ways of keeping ports operational, while lowering the impact on the environment as much as possible. Ports of Auckland is aiming to become a zero emissions port by 2040 and its ambitions align with Damen’s, as we continue our efforts to become the most sustainable shipbuilder in the world.”
“Ports of Auckland has taken a bold step in pioneering the use of fully electric harbor tugs and it is an honor to have worked with them on this project,” said Pim Schuurman, Damen’s Regional Sales Manager Asia Pacific. “We hope that in the future we will be able to look back and see that Sparky marked the beginning of a significant shift from diesel to clean, zero emissions electric tugs.”
During the christening ceremony, the vessel was blessed by local iwi, Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei, whose chair Marama Royal served as godmother and gave Sparky its ingoa Māori, Tiaki.
Deputy Dutch Ambassador Maartje ten Brummelaar, Auckland Mayor Phil Goff, Auckland Central MP Chlöe Swarbrick and other key councilors and dignitaries were also in attendance.