Damen RSD Tug 2513 one year on
Kotug Smit Towage
Since embarking on its ‘European Introduction Tour’, which took place in the spring and summer of 2018, Damen’s Reversed Stern Drive Tug 2513 Innovation has been the subject of numerous headlines. This is not surprising really, considering that this tour – visiting ports from Italy all the way to Germany – was the first time that a shipbuilder had given tug owners and operators such unrivalled access to a new vessel design.
And now, one year on, the two most interesting questions to ask are: What did operators think of the RSD Tug 2513? And where is the vessel working now?
Kotug Smit Tug Master André Versnel is the best person to answer those questions. He was hired by Damen to skipper the Innovation on the European Tour for the threemonth leg that took in stopovers in Malta, Gibraltar, Italy, Spain, Portugal, the UK, Belgium and the Netherlands.
The feedback we received from operators was overwhelmingly positive,
says André, in answer to the first question.
“For example, after the tour Damen chartered the Bis Viridis a couple of months in the Port of Antwerp. There we sailed with many different captains, all of whom had experience with Voith propulsion systems. Their overall reaction – in terms of visibility, manoeuvrability and ease of operations – was ‘once you try it, you don’t want to go back’. We also performed operations during the tour; a good example of this was in Felixstowe.”
Time = space = safe
Indeed, during its stopover in the Port of Felixstowe, the Innovation carried out eight different towage operations with vessels up to 400 metres in length. Most notably, this culminated in a powered indirect tow with the OOCL Hong Kong, a 400-metre long ULCC with a 14.8 metre draught.
“In indirect towing operations, the most striking feature of the RSD Tug 2513 is that it can start assisting at 3 knots – instead of the 4.5 knots that an ASD needs. This means that operations can start earlier than with a standard ASD tug. Starting indirect towage earlier gives the tug more time to do more for the vessel it is assisting.” In the evolving harbour towage sector – with larger container vessels manoeuvring in relatively smaller harbours – this issue of time is becoming increasingly important. More time equals more space, which equals safer, more effective operations.
André points to Damen’s Twin Fin skeg as the reason for this aspect of heightened performance.
This gives the vessel excellent course stability, also in reverse. Bow-to-bow operations are straightforward and can be carried out very safely.
Focus on the job
Since the end of the tour, the Innovation has been operating under the Kotug Smit flag in the Port of Rotterdam area. “It works here solely on harbour assistance duties,” he continues. “The 71.4-tonne bollard pull and fuel efficiency are two very attractive characteristics for performing these duties.”
“The design of the vessel is such that everything that you need is on board. There is no unnecessary equipment and nothing is missing for harbour duties. Looking at the foredeck, for instance, there is a winch and an uncluttered deck. This minimalism means that crews can really concentrate on their work.”
The design of the wheelhouse and the shatterproof safety glass are also worthy of André’s praise: “The layout and the sightlines from the bridge are just perfect.”