DISCOVER Magazine #7

Innovation on tour. Reversed Stern Drive Tug 2513 from the operator’s perspective

Published in category: Harbour & Terminal

André Versnel Captain André Versnel

Martin Been Chief Engineer
Martin Been
Chief Engineer

Through our channels – the Damen Magazine, websites, social media platforms and through press releases, Damen has recently been telling the story behind the development of the Reversed Stern Drive (RSD) Tug 2513 and the benefits it offers. We’ve highlighted its safety features, future-proof green credentials and operational efficiency. We’ve discussed its reliability – which comes courtesy of a winning combination of innovation and proven Damen knowledge and processes.

Straightforward & relevant

“The first thing you notice,” Martin begins, “is the simplicity of the design. It’s straightforward, but at the same time completely relevant and fine-tuned for the tasks it should perform.”

André: “I have been happily surprised by the vessel. The simplicity, the manoeuvrability, the view from the wheelhouse and the amount of storage space available thanks to the engine room refit are all very positive features from the operator’s perspective.”

Damen has put a lot of thought into ergonomics during five years of R&D for the RSD 2513. The controls of the vessel, for example have been laid out according to feedback Damen has gathered from its clients.


There is still a lot of information presented by the new interface of alarm monitoring and control system, but the RSD Tug 2513 takes the next step in this area by giving you more control over this.

A vessel true to its roots

Despite the abundance of innovation featured on the RSD Tug 2513, Damen has taken care not to lose sight of the proven technology that it already has in its portfolio. The new vessel features, for example, elements from Damen’s ATD Tugs as well as the highly successful ASD Tug 2411 and represents a powerful blending of the present with the future. It goes, as Martin says, “back to the essence of towing, but in a modern way.”

Maximum uptime

Leaning heavily on its Damen pedigree, the RSD Tug 2513 applies substantial modularity. This helps to make sure that the vessel does exactly what’s needed of it, whilst also offering commonality to ensure crew familiarity with any Damen tug. This standardised approach extends to the engine room layout, which is spacious and open.

Martin: “For the engineer, the layout of the engine room is perfect. Almost all the pipelines are above the floor level, making them very easy to follow. Because of the simple set up there will be significantly less downtime for repair and maintenance – you can truly say in this case that less is more.”

Security for the future

In its mission to future proof the RSD Tug 2513, Damen has sought to go way beyond current requirements in terms of safety and comfort.

André: “Safety is much improved on this vessel. For example, the overall view from the wheelhouse is better and the working space on the deck is spacious and uncluttered – unmatched in any other tug.”
The vessel essentially has two bows. The always bow first approach means optimal performance on both bow and stern assist work. It also allowed Damen to create a higher than normal freeboard to keep water off deck. Innovation is also one of the first Damen vessels to feature the new Damen Safety Glass – shatterproof glazing developed with TÜV Rheinland.

Additionally, the use of the patented Damen Twin Fin skeg ensures predictable sailing in any direction. Again, this leaves the operator free to concentrate on the task he is performing, confident that the vessel will simply follow his hand.

Safety in every detail

Safety is apparent in every detail; the on board VHF system is a case in point. Activated by a button on the thruster stick the operator can keep his hands where they are most needed whilst maintaining contact with the pilot. The emergency lighting is another example.

Martin: “The LED emergency lighting is excellent. It gives those on board a lot of confidence that they would be able to see in the event of a blackout.”

Not feeling the vibe

André: “There is a big difference between traditional tugs and the RSD Tug 2513. Splitting the ventilation from the superstructure means there is almost no noise or vibration in the wheelhouse.”

For port operations with three persons, it’s very comfortable. The cabins are well prepared and there is no cabin connect, which is a big plus. The mess room is also very well completed.

Ready for duty

The Innovation will complete her tour this summer after which she will be available for charter with Damen Marine Services. Due to Damen’s philosophy of building standardised vessels in series, the RSD Tug 2513 is also available from stock for fast delivery. André and Martin have confidence that the vessel will prove itself in operation.

André: “I think Damen has done good research on how to make a harbour tug both simple and capable. For this moment we only have experience with free sailing, but based on this, in combination with the manoeuvring properties and bollard pull, operators will have a fully operational tug for a wide range of towing jobs in ports and terminals.”

“Basically, from the operator perspective, towing is about two things; force generation and a good connection with the vessel that is to be towed. With the RSD Tug 2513, the designers have succeeded very well in achieving both of these things,” concludes Martin.

The RSD Tug 2513 features a winch that has been developed by Damen Winch Technology (DWT) and built by Damen Marine Components (DMC). DMC first developed its credentials in the field of winch technology with the Render Recovery Winch in 2012 and is now expanding its portfolio. In so doing it is applying a strategy that aims at optimising delivery time and lowering costs of winches. This is achieved by standardising all Damen winch designs to improve efficiency.

The latest winch innovation is a variable speed drive. This makes it possible to always haul and veer with the highest line speed available. The speed of the drive system automatically adjusts itself in proportion to the required line force in
hauling and veering.

Furthermore, the winches have a focus on low maintenance; each one has a full flame zinc coat and epoxy paint system and just two to four grease nipples. All rotating parts have a 5,000 hour lifespan. All DMC winches are type approved by class and tested above pull and brake holding force by DMC in attendance of a Class society surveyor.

European flag The project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 636146.
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