DISCOVER Magazine #7

Taking the next step

Published in category: Harbour & Terminal

Dirk Degroote
Product Manager Tugs

With a keen eye on the long-term, Damen is constantly developing its products and services. Recently the group has unveiled a new series of tugs, as well as upgrades to some of its existing portfolio – true to their proven, reliable heritage, but nonetheless featuring innovation that places them at the cutting edge of vessel development.

A new generation

The vessels are ASD Tugs 2312, 2811 and 2813 and the RSD Tug 2513, while the ASD Tug 3212 design has received an upgrade. The developments represent the next step towards compact agility in tugs; an answer to the increasing size of vessels entering ports.

One factor behind the development of the new vessels is growing calls for increased costefficiency. The compact nature of the new vessels directly approaches this challenge – as does the increased standardisation and modularisation that they feature.

Spot the difference

When Damen Product Manager Tugs, Dirk Degroote took up his position 1.5 years ago he indicated that he would be working towards increasing commonality and modularity in Damen tugs for maximum quality at a competitive price level.

“These vessels are clear examples of this process in action. They all feature the same user interface, the same remote monitoring capabilities, the same design philosophy of systems and components, including the same electrical system with the same LED lighting and switchboards.”

Though each of the vessels features its own distinct characteristics suited to the tasks it will perform, the commonality includes well positioned towing points for optimal towing performance, a low vessel profile, active stability feedback, a full vision bridge and clean working decks for safety and optimised fuel consumption.

“All of this brings multiple benefits to clients. In addition to the higher quality at a competitive price level that is the natural result of modularisation and series production, this will aid speed of delivery, reliability and crew familiarisation.”

Dirk: “In addition to making sure that vessels are competitive, it’s also crucial they offer good value over the entire lifecycle. This means low and easy maintenance and, naturally, low fuel consumption. We have taken all of these things into consideration in the development of these vessels and, in fact, we’ve not only sought to produce tugs that answer the demands of today, but also those of tomorrow, including by connectivity to the Damen Digital platform.”

Fit for the future

On that note, Dirk, along with colleague Dani Marouane, IT Segment Architect, will present a paper on the digitalisation of tugs at ITS 2018 in Marseille this June.

The maritime industry is tapping into the possibilities of connectivity and digitalization presented by improved GSM connectivity and satellite connectivity and cloud computing systems as well as ever-advancing software packages. Damen has been conducting R&D into digitalisation of tugs for some time now – starting over a decade ago with a centralised alarm and monitoring system. This has expanded to include, an in-house developed electrical system and the next generation of Human Machine Interface. The Damen Digital platform to which Dirk alludes is a base for digital collaboration, whereby all Damen product groups, along with suppliers and clients, will be able to cooperate towards the development of Damen products for maximum benefit to all concerned.

IMO Tier III compliance made modular

The results of these, and similar, projects have been increased safety, reliability and performance – including environmental credentials. Embodying all of these things, Damen’s new RSD Tug 2513 is also making an appearance at ITS this year. This particular model – named Bis Viridis, meaning double green, is the first of the new series of vessels, in fact, the first European tug with a conventional propulsion system, to comply with IMO Tier III regulations, based on a competitive SCR system.


Like the name of the vessel, its green paintworks is also a nod at the RSD Tug’s environmental credentials.

All the new vessels in the Damen tug portfolio are IMO Tier III ready,

explains Dirk.

“All that is required to make them compliant is a modular system, which can be installed within a few weeks. All the equipment is plug & play. It’s a unique system; any other solution on the market currently requires a dedicated engine. With this development, Damen has taken the next step to stimulate greener operations.

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