Turkey’s 1st LNG dual-fuel tugboat starts taking shape

Turkish Uzmar Shipyard has held a steel-cutting ceremony for Turkey’s first dual-fuel tugboat, being built for BOTAŞ Petroleum Pipeline Corporation (BOTAS), the state-owned crude oil and natural gas pipelines and trading company.

Image credit: Botas

 The shipyard will build two Voith tractor-type propeller tugboats that will be able to run on liquified natural gas (LNG) and diesel.

BOTAS has 55 years of experience in the sector and currently has 14 tugboats in its fleet.

The tugboats will have a length of 39 meters and a width of 15 meters. They will serve at BOTAŞ ports with a speed of 12 knots. They will have a minimum pulling power of 80 tons, and main engines with a total power of 6,000 kW, in addition to Voith propeller system and Fi-Fi1 fire extinguishing capacity. 

BOTAS also plans to further rejuvenate the tugboat fleet with sustainability and fleet efficiency in mind.

Turkish shipyards have already built considerable experience in building smaller, dual-fuel and electrically powered vessels.

For example, Turkish Cemre Shipyard has launched the construction of a zero-emission double-ended car and passenger ferry that will run on battery-electric power.

The order for the 117 meters long ferry with an accommodation capacity of 399 passengers was revealed in April 2022. It is planned for all power for the new zero-emission vessel to come from the grid onshore through high-capacity automated charging connections. In case shore power is unavailable biodiesel generators would provide power for operation.

Furthermore, the yard is also building two zero-emission ferries for the Danish ferry company Molslinjen, which will be entirely powered by batteries.

In addition, Turkish Tersan Shipyard has secured a contract to build two eco-friendly sister ferries for Norwegian ferry operator Fjord1 ASA.

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However, the country’s fleet is yet to ramp up its decarbonization efforts in line with global targets.

For the short term, the country’s shipowners are looking into energy efficiency improvements and the potential of biofuel, while in the medium term, short-sea vessels are likely to opt for batteries and LNG.

Methanol has a strong potential as it is fairly easy to adopt. However, the price of green methanol remains steep.

To that end, Turkish shipyard and tug operator company Uzmar Shipyard has teamed up with Canadian naval architectural firm Robert Allan to design and build a new series of methanol-fuelled tugboats.

As informed, the new designs represent a new generation of low-emission tugs demanded by shipowners to meet CO2 reduction targets.

Uzmar said it intends to replace all the tugboats in its fleet with eco-friendly newbuilds and offer the global market a solution for sustainable low-emission vessels.

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As with other countries across the globe, for the Turkish fleet ammonia, and hydrogen are considered the likely solutions in the long term. Nevertheless, the scope of the necessary infrastructure and investments remains a massive challenge.

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