SAFEEN Group to operate first electric tug in the Middle East

SAFEEN Group, a maritime services provider and part of the UAE-based AD Ports Group, and Dutch shipbuilder Damen Shipyards have signed an agreement for the lease and purchase of an all-electric tug — the first of its kind in the Middle East.

Courtesy of AD Ports Group

The tug will be deployed AD Ports Group’s flagship facility, Khalifa Port, as part of the company’s Marine Services fleet.

Unveiled during the 27th International Tug & Salvage Convention, Exhibition & Awards 2024, Dubai, the Damen RSD-E Tug 2513 is an all-electric harbor tug, expected to provide numerous advantages including zero emissions from “Tank to Propeller”, operational efficiency thanks to boasting a 70-ton bollard pull able to handle the largest vessels, and cost-effectiveness due to lower maintenance costs compared to diesel-powered counterparts.

Initially, the tug will be operated via generators that comply with the latest emission IMO tier 3 regulations. This setup, despite using generators, is more fuel efficient compared to traditional ASD tugs, the company said.

The trial initiative is expected to pave the way for a formalized electrification strategy for the marine services fleet, according to SAFEEN Group.

Furthermore, plans include a shore facility at Khalifa Port capable of delivering 1.5 MW of power for charging, to accommodate such tugs, demonstrating AD Ports Group’s dedication to sustainable infrastructure and readiness to support electric-powered vessels.

With a shore charging facility in place, the tug is set to benefit from its full electric capabilities, contributing significantly to reducing the carbon footprint of maritime activities.

“We are very proud to have the first electric tug in the Middle East join our fleet. Implementing electric tugs into our operations aligns with our local and global and local ambitions for greener maritime operations. AD Ports Group’s commitment to a sustainable future is underscored by adopting such technologies, contributing to the overall reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in the maritime sector,” Ammar Mubarak Al Shaiba, CEO – Maritime & Shipping Cluster, AD Ports Group, commented.

“We are very pleased that the first electric tug in the Middle East is going to be undertaking operations for SAFEEN Group. The RSD-E 2513 has garnered recognition within the maritime industry, winning the ‘Tug of the Year’ award at the 2022 International Tug & Salvage Awards. This accolade emphasises the vessel’s innovative design and its contribution to environmental sustainability,” Kommer Damen, Chairman of Damen Shipyards Group, said.

Last month, Damen launched a fully electric tug of the same type being built for the Port of Antwerp-Bruges. The vessel, VOLTA 1, is able to perform at least two towage operations on a single charge and can be fully recharged in two hours.

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Moreover, the all-electric RSD-E Tug 2513 named Sparky is deployed in New Zealand’s Ports of Auckland, supporting the port’s goal to be emissions-free by 2040. The tug was launched in August 2022 as the first in the aforementioned class.

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