DISCOVER Magazine #7

Damen builds new Rotortugs® Art 80-32 Hybrid for stock

Published in category: Harbour & Terminal

When Damen, Rotortug B.V. and Robert Allan Ltd. teamed up to launch the first Rotortugs® ART 80-32 Hybrid in June last year, certainly the industry raised its eyebrows as companies that would normally be competitors came together.

Following an agreement, Damen is now entitled to build the Robert Allan-designed Rotortugs® ART 80-32 Hybrid for third party clients. The first two, which are owned by Rotterdam operator KOTUG International B.V., were successfully launched in December and January.

Damen has such confidence in the new design that the Dutch shipyard group is going to build four more of the new tugs directly for stock.

Saying that he is very much known as ‘an ASD man’, Coen Boudesteijn, Damen Product Director Tugs, admits that he was initially a little sceptical about the merits of the new Rotortug®. But he enthuses following a trip on KOTUG’s first Rotortug® ART 80-32 Hybrid RT Evolution in the port of Rotterdam. “I have such confidence in the design. This is really a new generation. She is extremely dynamic – just one slight touch of the handle is enough.”

“The Rotortug® ART 80-32 Hybrid has all the strength of a large tug – achieving an 85 tonnes bollard pull – but this is coupled with the manoeuvrability of smaller ones. As a ship handling tug – it is something special!”

Rotterdam-based Rotortug B.V. is the patent holder and still provides a lot of input in the design process. Evan Willemsen, Managing Director at Rotortug B.V. says: “We have effectively been busy for more than 20 years with this new design. It is compact, powerful and comfortable.”

Intuitive & user friendly

Both admit that sometimes there is a perception that a Rotortug® is more complicated than a regular ASD tug. “The perception is that it must be difficult to sail with the three controls. In practice however, it is completely user friendly. And as an ASD tug fan I thought it was going to be more difficult,” says Coen. Evan stresses that the new generation is ‘extremely intuitive’.

With the ever-increasing size of container vessels, bulkers and LNG carriers, the two executives point out that such a vessel is crucial for any port worldwide. “Ports are getting more efficient and there is less time to handle each vessel, so they need safe and reliable tug operators.” Additionally, the Rotortug® works very well in confined areas and this makes it possible to reduce the number of tugs per port call.

“The Rotortug® should be part of the fleet. It is the tool for every challenge,” stresses Evan. The Rotortug© concept offers increased security for ship handling and escort towing, as well as enhanced crew safety, he says.

Operators never have to reposition their tug because they work well indirect or direct at all speeds. The high and immediate steering forces with little heeling angle at a vector response time of virtually “0” seconds means that it is a top-rate escort tug, he adds.

Ideal ship handling tool

The Rotortug® concept involves a different way of ship handling. Rather than the push/pull method, it is not necessary to push on the side of the ship but against the tow wire instead, again with a zero response time for any pilot orders, he explains.


As well as being a powerful and versatile tool, the Rotortug® ART 80-32 Hybrid represents considerable savings in terms of fuel efficiency, which is typically reduced by 25-30%. The vessel has diesel and electric engines in each propulsion line and for the most part (80%) it can be completely electrically powered.

And although it is too early to reveal details Rotortug B.V. is exploring other propulsion configurations, which could save even more fuel, expected to be in the region of 40-50% for an average port operation.

Compact & powerful

The tug’s design also makes it extremely comfortable for the crew. “It has very low noise and vibration levels, the climate of the wheelhouse is extremely comfortable. Even after a hard day’s work you don’t feel tired,” Coen points out.

Evan adds that the crews have been very positive about the new vessel. “She embodies the Damen quality – the finish and eye for detail – which meets with their expectations. And the ergonomics of the bridge layout, galley, cabins and mess room have all been carefully thought about. The vessel is arranged for more comfortable living.”

Compact & powerful

“It is clear to see how this vessel is designed and built by three companies with indepth tug knowledge and it encompasses Damen’s input from its proven ASD and Stan Tug series. Like our ASD Tugs 3110, 3111 and 2810, it has a compact design, is powerful – simply a sharp design!” Coen says.

Coen comments:

This is the ultimate Rotortug® and it fits in with our philosophy of building compact, powerful tugs. All tug operators know Damen for its ‘A1’ tugs and this is an excellent addition to our range, from the smaller Shoalbuster to this powerful new Hybrid.


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