VESSEL REVIEW | HaiSea Warrior – LNG-fuelled escort tugs enter service in British Columbia, Canada

HaiSea Kermode, an LNG-fuelled tug recently acquired by Canada's HaiSea Marine
HaiSea Kermode

Canadian towage company HaiSea Marine, a joint venture business formed by the Haisla Nation of British Columbia and local shipping line Seaspan, has taken delivery of two LNG-fuelled ASD tugs in a series that will be used primarily to escort gas carriers between the Pacific Ocean and British Columbia’s coastal waters.

Built to a design by Vancouver-based naval architecture firm Robert Allan Ltd (RAL), the tugs have been named HaiSea Kermode and HaiSea Warrior by the Gitga’at First Nation of British Columbia. The tugs boast high environmental credentials, having been among the first vessels of their type to ever receive ABS’ ENVIRO+ notation.

Low emissions for sustained operations

The vessels are notable for their dual-fuel propulsion that runs on both LNG and diesel, making them among the first LNG-fuelled tugs to be operated in Canada. Following delivery, the tugs have been put to use escorting gas carriers between the Pacific Ocean and LNG Canada’s new export terminal in British Columbia.

HaiSea Warrior, an LNG-fuelled tug recently acquired by Canada's HaiSea Marine
HaiSea Warrior (Photo: Macdonald)

“The tugs were purpose-built and designed primarily for escort towing in the Douglas Channel – the world’s longest known escort route of approximately 158 nautical miles,” Vince Percy, Director of Operations at HaiSea Marine, told Baird Maritime. “This is to ensure the safe passage of LNG carriers from LNG Canada’s export facility in Kitimat.”

The newbuilds each have a length of 40.2 metres (131.8 feet), a moulded beam of 16 metres (52.4 feet), a maximum draught of 7.1 metres (23.2 feet), a moulded depth of six metres (19.6 feet), a gross tonnage of 996, and a projected operational service life of 40 years.

The dual-fuel propulsion delivers a bollard pull of more than 100 tonnes (98.4 tons). The propulsion also has the ability to generate indirect forces in escort of approximately 200 tonnes (196 tons).

Percy said the engines on each tug produce a combined 6,000 kW (8,046 hp) of power, making these the most powerful escort tugs on Canada’s West Coast. In addition, by using LNG as a fuel source, CO2 emissions are significantly reduced, as are PM and SOx emissions.

HaiSea Kermode, an LNG-fuelled tug recently acquired by Canada's HaiSea Marine
HaiSea Kermode (Photo: Seaspan)

“With the development of LNG Canada’s export facility, there was a need created for a tug fleet to safely escort LNG Carriers out of the Douglas Channel. HaiSea was developed to help support this project and fill that need as a joint venture partnership between Seaspan and the Haisla Nation,” added Percy.

“When the team was in the early stages of creating HaiSea, Seaspan promised the Haisla Nation that it would protect their home waters with the greenest tug fleet in the world, and that HaiSea would create job opportunities for the Haisla Nation and surrounding First Nations communities.”

Although the tugs will feature an exhaust gas after-treatment system in full compliance with IMO Tier III emissions standards, they will actually perform the entirety of their regular escort missions using LNG as fuel. RAL claims that, when operating in this mode on the 159-nautical-mile escort routes in each direction from Kitimat to the pilot station near Triple Island, the vessels’ emissions, in particular those of CO2, will be significantly reduced compared to even IMO Tier III standards.

Versatile vessels serving a vital gas transport route

“The tugs’ emergency response capabilities are augmented by significant oil recovery tankage and a Fire-Fighting 1 class off-ship fire-fighting system, with the capacity to fill an Olympic-size swimming pool in just one hour,” said Percy. “The vessels are also fitted with DP0 controls, allowing for station keeping. This is a new development for tugs of this type and provides the navigating crew with flexibility when approaching new jobs.”

The enclosed Markey tow winches, which are custom-built for the tugs, are of full rend-to-recover design, utilising synthetic tow lines. Percy said the vessels are therefore capable of applying the large steering/breaking forces with the highest levels of precision.

HaiSea Kermode, an LNG-fuelled tug recently acquired by Canada's HaiSea Marine
HaiSea Kermode (Photo: Seaspan)

The accommodations are meanwhile outfitted to a high standard with spacious dedicated cabins and en suite toilets for all regular crew. The interiors also benefit from natural light, and well in excess of regulatory standards. Particular attention has been paid to minimise onboard noise and vibration, enhancing crew comfort during periods of sustained operations.

“As with all of HaiSea’s vessels, the new tugs were designed with the goal of creating inclusive and comfortable environments for the crew, which earned the fleet ABS’ habitability notation (HAB),” Percy told Baird Maritime. “Each crewmember benefits from the privacy of a single cabin with en suite washrooms and showers.”

He added that the vessels were designed to have near continuous internet connectivity, even in the remote areas of Douglas Channel. Also, the systems are integrated in a way that will provide real-time streaming of operational data to the shore support team.

HaiSea Kermode & HaiSea Warrior
Type of vessel: Escort tugs
Classification: ABS ✠ A1, Towing Vessel, Escort Vessel, ✠AMS, ✠ABCU, Ⓔ, GFS(DFD), BP(105), FFV1, OSR-C2, UWILD, NBLES, HAB(WB), ENVIRO+, IHM
Flag: Canada
Owner: HaiSea Marine, Canada
Designer: Robert Allan Ltd, Canada
Length overall: 40.2 metres (131.8 feet)
Beam: 16 metres (52.4 feet)
Draught: 7.1 metres (23.2 feet)
Depth: 6.0 metres (19.6 feet)
Gross tonnage: 996
Main engines: 2 x 3,000 kw (4,023 hp)
Propulsion: 2 x Schottel SRP 610 controllable-pitch propellers
Generators: 2 x Caterpillar C18; Caterpillar C7.1
Side thrusters: 2 x Schottel STT 170
Maximum speed: 14.3 knots
Bollard pull: 100 tonnes (98.4 tons)
Dynamic positioning: Schottel
Winches: Markey DESF-52UL-AGILE; Markey TES-52UL-100HP
Capstans: Markey CEP-60; 2 x Markey VEPA-16
Crane: Palfinger PK 50002M
Other deck equipment: Karmøy tow pins; Samson Rope EVATS emergency vessel attachment and towing system
Interior fitout: Toilets
Firefighting equipment: 2 x FFS monitors; FFS pump
Types of fuel: LNG; diesel
Fuel capacity: 324 cubic metres (11,442 cubic feet)
Freshwater capacity: 47 cubic metres (1,659 cubic feet)
Accommodation: Cabins; mess; galley; office
Crew: 8
Operational area: British Columbia, Canada

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