Welcome to Tug and Salvage Week!


While the wider global ship and boat building industry remains busy, productive and, apparently, largely unaffected by the Covid-19 pandemic, the tug sector appears to be especially so.

As readers will learn this week from Baird Maritime’s Tug and Salvage Week, the tug and salvage sector is busy worldwide. Not only is it busy, but it is increasingly innovative as far as most aspects of tugs are concerned. Engines, propulsion systems, fuel types, safety equipment, instrumentation, automation, adaptability and versatility are all vital factors in modern tug design and construction.

Whether they be harbour tugs, escort tugs, inland waterway push-tugs, tug and barge combos, salvage or rescue tugs or whatever, they all, almost invariably, evince adaptability and flexibility. They are also generally more powerful yet more compact. Many are also genuinely multi-purpose.

Almost weekly, we learn of electric powered or hybrid tugs, even unmanned tugs. There are shallow draught tugs and tugs with up to four main engines. These are exciting times for tugs and, as the ships they serve, whether in towage or salvage roles, get ever larger, tugs inevitably grow ever more powerful and versatile.

Tugs • Towboats • Pusher Tugs • ATBs • Salvage • Autonomy • Marine Environment

It is also interesting to see the increasingly important roles of certain tug industry participants. The major owners, like Svitzer and Crowley; the designers like Robert Allan, Damen and Macduff Ship Design; and, the builders like Damen, globally, yards in China, and the fast growing Turkish trio. The sector is concentrating considerably and constantly. Specialisation seems to be the key at that level.

However, as far as actual vessels are concerned, flexibility and adaptability are becoming increasingly important. Many owners want multi-purpose tugs. An example of many of these developments, all wrapped in one vessel, is the very impressive and aptly named Brutus, a Damen newbuild with its diesel electric propulsion system comprising four main engines and producing 60 tonnes bollard pull on a shallow (2.85 metres) draught multi-purpose tug fitted with powerful deck cranes and winches.

Similarly, Crowley Marine’s new 94-tonne bollard pull tug Apollo is equally suited to harbour and escort work. Yet another Robert Allan design, it exhibits all the latest international developments that American owners have been sometimes slow to adopt.

Sanmar, from Turkey, have used another Robert Allan design in Eitan, a powerful new Voith Schneider tug for Israel. It has all the “bells and whistles” that such a propulsion system normally offers as well as some new tricks and 73.5 tonnes bollard pull.

There are some fine new vessels and much that is new in the way of designs and equipment for tugs to be seen on Baird Maritime this week.

Vessel Reviews:

News, Gear, and Book Reviews:

Recent Important Features:

COLUMN | Luxembourg’s report on Bourbon Rhode: Bourbon, class, and the flag state could do better; Nigeria too [Offshore Accounts]

– “Ships sinking actually cost the insurers money, whereas for the owners the loss of a vessel is often just an inconvenience and some more paperwork, even when seafarers have perished.”

– by Hieronymus Bosch, anonymous commentator and Baird Maritime’s insider in the world of offshore oil and gas operations

COLUMN | Ropes for dopes [Tug Times]

– “Selecting the best rope is about far more than just the price.”

 by Alan Loynd, former General Manager of the renowned Hong Kong Salvage and Towage company

Remember to come back every day to see the latest news, opinion and vessel reviews!

Call for content!

Any news or views about the global tug and salvage sectors? Send it through to [email protected] ASAP (between now and July 30), so we can add it to this current edition of Tug and Salvage Week!

We are after:

  • Vessels – Orders, new deliveries, under construction
  • Gear – Latest innovations and technology in the tug and salvage sector
  • Interviews – Owners, operators, builders, designers etc.
  • Reminiscences – Do you have any exciting, amusing or downright dangerous anecdotes from your time in the tug and salvage world? (example here)
  • Other – Any other relevant news

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Neil Baird

Co-founder and former Editor-in-Chief of Baird Maritime and Work Boat World magazine, Neil has travelled the length and breadth of this planet in over 40 years in the business. He knows the global work boat industry better than anyone.