Safe Tug is a unique joint cooperation involving Damen, the Maritime Research Institute Netherlands (MARIN) and partners from oil companies, defence organisations, operators, design offices and a number of shipyards.

Designing safer tugs

The project focuses on improving the safety and efficiency of tug boat assists in heavy weather conditions. The key question is how to design tugs that are capable of enduring even harsher conditions. As a shipyard who believes in standardised vessels designs, Damen also participates in the project’s design team – actively taking part in the process with regards to the tests that MARIN carries out.

Thorough testing

The tests are considering both tugs that assist tankers at offshore terminals, as well as harbour escort tugs

The tests involve harbour escort tugs in addition to tanker-assisting tugs at offshore terminals. Using these two different models, MARIN performed numerous tests in heavy weather conditions, both at high and low speeds. The results showed that tug efficiency is limited through the peak loads in the line between tug and ship.

One key to improving this situation would be a winch capable of actively absorbing these peak loads. Another important factor to consider is that the crew must be able to withstand the movements of the vessel.

Valuable knowledge for design

Thanks to the numerous tests undertaken, our understanding of the efficiency of tugs, and how this can be improved, has grown. This knowledge will facilitate the development of a new generation of tugs that can sail under tougher conditions for a longer period of time. Our next step is the development of basic principles for designing tugs.

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