Kotug’s dual-fuel methanol escort tugs to provide service for Trans Mountain

Maritime service provider Kotug Canada has announced that its dual-fuel methanol escort tugs will be used for Trans Mountain’s expanded operations on Canada’s West Coast. Trans Mountain operates Canada’s oil pipeline, servicing the West Coast of Canada, providing tidewater access to foreign markets for Canada’s petroleum resources.

Illustration; Courtesy of Kotug Canada

Under the agreement, Kotug Canada, a partnership between Kotug International and Horizon Maritime Services, will escort tankers from the harbour limits of the Port of Vancouver to the Pacific Ocean, through the commercial shipping lanes of the Salish Sea.

Kotug said it shall provide the service using two newbuild dual-fuel, methanol and diesel, escort tugs, which are being purpose-built by Sanmar Shipyards in Turkey.

Kotug noted the design for the tugs provides significant environmental benefits to further reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and underwater noise. The tugs are equipped with fire fighting and spill response capabilities and are expected to help to mitigate the risk of marine spills to the Salish Sea and communities from laden tankers as well as other commercial marine traffic.

To provide this service, Kotug Canada said it has partnered with Sc’ianew First Nation from Beecher Bay, strategically located along the shipping route.

It further noted that the newbuild vessels will replace the existing tugs selected for Trans Mountain Expansion Project (TMEP), announced by Kotug Canada with the Sc’ianew First Nation in December 2021.

With a third existing Kotug Canada vessel on a long-term contract to Western Canada Marine Response Corporation (WCMRC), the newbuilds will operate out of the Cheanuh Marina in Beecher Bay on the south coast of Vancouver Island, owned and operated by the Sc’ianew First Nation, Kotug said, adding that together, the three vessels will improve the overall safety of the marine network in the region.

Commenting on the innovations for the newbuild tugs, Kotug said they include a hybrid propulsion configuration enabling the escort tugs to operate using both methanol and diesel as marine fuels. Both vessels will be equipped with a mechanical cross-link system (the latest Schottel Sydrive azimuth thrusters) to enable a single engine to drive two thrusters, significantly reducing fuel consumption, and additionally, the hulls of the two tugs will have a graphene paint applied (from Graphite Innovation Technologies, GIT) to reduce biofouling and enhance hull-smoothness of the vessels which reduces underwater radiant noise and makes the vessels more fuel efficient.

Chief Russell Chipps stated: “Sc’ianew First Nation worked hard to bring the resources to our community to protect the ocean and our natural resources. At the same time, we are creating economic development and environmental protection opportunities within our own community, and the addition of these new dual-fuel tugs builds our capacity to participate in greener solutions for marine shipping.”

Michael Davies, COO of Trans Mountain, noted: “The TMEP includes significant measures to protect the marine environment. The enhanced escort system reduces the risk of a spill from tankers moving through our local waters despite the overall increase in the number of ships. Kotug brought a green solution to meeting this challenge in partnership with Sc’ianew First Nation. This will create more jobs for the BC south coast and extend project benefits to coastal communities.”

To remind, in 2021, on behalf of shippers, the Trans Mountain Expansion Project (TMEP) awarded Kotug Canada a long-term contract to provide enhanced escort towage services for tankers that load crude oil at Trans Mountain’s Westridge Marine Terminal.


Follow Offshore Energy’s Clean Fuel: