July 11, 2023 [riviera]- Kotug Canada has secured a long-term deal to provide enhanced escort towage services for tankers that load crude oil at Trans Mountain’s Westridge Marine Terminal.
Under the agreement, Kotug Canada – a partnership between Kotug International and Canada’s Horizon Maritime Services – will escort tankers from the harbour limits of the Port of Vancouver to the Pacific Ocean, through the commercial shipping lanes of the Salish Sea.
Kotug Canada will use two newbuild dual-fuel, methanol and diesel escort tugs, designed by naval architect firm Robert Allan. The RAsalvor 4400-DFM escort tugs are an evolution of the naval architect’s existing escort tug designs.
SD Aisemaht and SD Qwii-Aan’c Sarah will both be 44-m long and with their high bollard pull of 115 tonnes, the methanol-fuelled tugs will become the most powerful escort tugs operating in Canada. Both ships are under construction at Turkey’s Sanmar Shipyards and are expected to enter service in 2025.
The tugs are equipped with fire-fighting and spill response capabilities and will help to mitigate the risk of marine spills to the Salish Sea in British Columbia from laden tankers and other commercial marine traffic.
The newbuilds will replace existing tugs. Together with a third existing vessel on long-term contract to Western Canada Marine Response Corp, the vessels will operate out of the Cheanuh Marina in Beecher Bay on the south coast of Vancouver Island.
As part of the project, Kotug Canada is partnering with Sc’ianew First Nation, a native American group, from Beecher Bay, located along this shipping route. Sc’ianew First Nation will own and operate the third vessel.
Kotug Canada director Steve Widmeyer said, “These tugs exhibit the aspirations of the Brtitish Columbia tug market to improve environmental performance of shipping activity and advance new solutions to local and global environmental challenges.”
Both vessels will be equipped with the latest Schottel Sydrive azimuth thrusters to enable a single engine to drive two thrusters, significantly reducing fuel consumption. Additionally, the hulls of the two tugs will have Graphite Innovation Technologies’ graphene paint applied to reduce biofouling and enhance hull-smoothness of the vessels, which also reduces underwater radiant noise and makes the vessels more fuel efficient.
“The Trans Mountain Expansion Project includes significant measures to protect the marine environment,” said Trans Mountain chief operating officer Michael Davies. “The enhanced escort system reduces the risk of a spill from tankers moving through our local waters despite the overall increase in the number of ships. This will create more jobs for the BC south coast and extend project benefits to coastal communities.”
The Trans Mountain Pipeline was built in 1953 and carries crude from Alberta to British Columbia. The expansion project is essentially a twinning of this existing 1,150-km pipeline between Strathcona County, Alberta and Burnaby, British Columbia. It will create a pipeline system with the nominal capacity of the system going from approximately 300,000 barrels per day to 890,000 barrels per day.
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