VESSEL REVIEW | Bolder – Small electric mooring tug for Royal Netherlands Navy

Photo: Dutch Ministry of Defence

The Royal Netherlands Navy recently acquired the first vessel in a new series of three small line handling tugs built by local boatbuilder Stormer Marine.

Bolder and its sisters Beting and Bakspier will replace the navy’s five Schelde-class tugs, which have been in service since the 1980s. Their duties will include towing of pontoons and oil screens, transport of personnel in port waters, and mooring/unmooring assistance for other vessels at the Nieuwe Haven Naval Base in Den Helder.

The tug is notable for having all-electric propulsion, which was selected by the Dutch Ministry of Defence (MOD) to ensure only minimal adverse environmental impact.

Bolder has all-aluminium construction, a length of 11 metres, a beam of four metres, a displacement of approximately 9.5 tonnes, and space for two crewmembers and eight additional personnel. The electric propulsion system can deliver a maximum speed of 11 knots or allow the tug to sail up to 43 nautical miles at a cruising speed of four knots.

The propulsion also includes a backup generator, which will only be used if the tug is called upon for continuous operations in ports that have inadequate shoreside charging facilities.

According to the MOD, the tug will require only minimal maintenance and the battery pack will last the vessel’s entire projected service life of 30 years, thus reducing the need for periodic and possibly costly replacements. Also, due to the low weight of the aluminium hull, the electric propulsion can operate more efficiently, thus more easily satisfying the navy’s performance requirements.

The tug can also be operated outside of naval base limits but must comply with civilian regulations. To this end, space will be allotted for additional safety equipment such as a liferaft and a flare gun.

Bolder will soon commence operational sailings in Nieuwe Haven. Beting and Bakspier are meanwhile scheduled to enter service in early 2024.

Type of vessel: Line handling tug
Flag: Netherlands
Owner: Royal Netherlands Navy
Builder: Stormer Marine, Netherlands
Hull construction material: Aluminium
Superstructure construction material: Aluminium
Deck construction material: Aluminium
Length overall: 11 metres
Beam: 4.0 metres
Displacement: 9.5 tonnes
Maximum speed: 11 knots
Cruising speed: 4.0 knots
Range: 43 nautical miles
Crew: 2
Passengers: 8
Operational area: Den Helder, Netherlands

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