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KOTUG Canada partners with Robert Allan and Sanmar to build two high bollard pull methanol-fueled escort tugs

KOTUG Canada selected Türkiye’s Sanmar Shipyards to build two RAsalvor 4400-DFM dual fuel methanol escort tugs—Robert Allan Ltd. design—to service the Trans Mountain Expansion Project (TMEP).


These tugs will escort tankers from the harbor limits of the Port of Vancouver to the open Pacific Ocean through the commercial shipping lanes of the Salish Sea. To provide this service, KOTUG Canada has partnered with Sc’ianew First Nation from Beecher Bay, which is strategically located along the shipping route.

These two tugs, to be named SD AISEMAHT and SD QWII-AAN’C SARAH in honor of the Sc’ianew First Nation, are scheduled to be the world’s first large purpose-built high bollard pull methanol-fueled tugs when they enter service in 2025 and will provide significant environmental benefits to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and underwater-radiated noise further.

The relationship between Vancouver, BC-based Robert Allan Ltd. and KOTUG dates back many years with KOTUG operating more than a dozen Robert Allan Ltd. designed high bollard pull harbor and offshore ASD and Advanced RotorTug (ART) vessels internationally. Similarly, for almost thirty years, Sanmar Shipyards has been building industry leading high-quality tugs for Robert Allan Ltd. designs, including battery electric, LNG-fueled and tugs for the BC market.


The RAsalvor 4400-DFM escort tugs will measure 44 meters in length and are an evolution of Robert Allan Ltd.’s escort tugs which operate in some of the harshest environments in the world. With more than 115 tonnes of bollard pull they’ll be Canada’s most powerful escort tugs.

Both vessels will be equipped with a mechanical cross link system between the azimuth thrusters to enable a single engine to drive both propellers. They will also be equipped with main engine driven shaft generators to satisfy the vessel’s normal electrical needs. These features will allow the crews to optimize engine loading and significantly reduce fuel consumption and running hours of the main engines and gensets.

Combined, these features will reduce the tugs underwater radiated noise, mitigating the effects of shipping on the Salish Sea’s Southern Resident Killer Whales. Additionally, KOTUG is having the hulls of both tugs coated with a graphene paint to reduce biofouling and enhance hull-smoothness which reduces underwater radiated noise and makes the vessels more fuel-efficient.

The escort tugs are equipped with firefighting equipment meeting the requirements of American Bureau of Shipping (ABS)’s FFV 1 notation and will have the largest spill response capabilities of any tugs on the BC coast to mitigate the risk of marine spills to the Salish Sea and communities from laden tankers as well as other commercial marine traffic.

High quality onboard equipment will include heavy duty electric winches fit fore and aft for reduced noise and to reduce the risk of a hydraulic oil spill into the environment significantly. The forward escort system has been customized to suit the requirements of the local pilots for tankers utilizing the TMEP. The aft towing system with a dual drum winch with 2 x 1,000 m of steel wire is among the largest fit to an escort tug and combined with the vessel’s exceptional maneuverability provides the capability to perform emergency towage of vessels along the route that may find themselves in distress.


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