Focus on green tugs in Abu Dhabi

Dedicated forum to discuss LNG-powered workboats and green technology.
Middle East Workboats & Offshore Marine 2013, NEWS


A dedicated forum focussing on green technology and LNG-powered tugboats will take place on the second day of Middle East Workboats & Offshore Marine 2013.

The issue of sustainability is rising to the top of the industry agenda, after the IMO called for global implementation of a 0.5% cap on sulphur content in fuel oil by 2020. More stringent measures are being introduced in the Emission Control Areas (ECAs) in the Baltic and North Sea, and North America, including the Canadian coastline and the US Caribbean Sea, where current 1% limits will reduced to a mere 0.1% in 2015.

Outlining the current options, Emma Howell, of the Middle East Workboats & Offshore Marine 2013, said: “Operating on low-sulphur distillate fuels is possible but there are doubts about availability (refineries would need to produce an additional four million barrels per day by 2020) and if demand does spike, naturally the price could rise significantly. LNG has virtually no sulphur content at all and so if more stringent sulphur limits are brought in, it would be a real alternative to conventional marine bunker fuel.”

Leading the session entitled ‘LNG tugs a future realised’, part of the Global Workboats Technology Forum with strategic partner, Saudi Aramco, is Gary Dockerty, director for the AMEA region for the Turkish Shipyard, Sanmar. The tugboat and workboat builder is set to deliver the world’s first two LNG-driven tugs to Ostensjo Rederi in Norway, later this year.

“LNG costs less than a third of diesel and it burns 30% more cleanly reducing carbon emissions, but according to Lloyds Register, over the next 12 years only 653 newly-built vessels will be LNG-fuelled, less than 5% of total global deliveries. So although LNG-fuelled engines are a viable option, there are still issues,” said Dockerty.

“It is 15-40% more expensive to design and build an LNG-fuelled tugboat, so the fuel price differential ROI is difficult to justify and that’s before we start to look at operational performance or the lack of LNG bunkers. However the bottom line is that the industry will have to comply, so it will be interesting to see how sustainable design develops over the next seven years,” he added.

Recognising the opportunity, Drydocks World Dubai is also designing green tugs for the Middle East market, to comply with stricter emissions’ controls regulations, by integrating highly efficient Rolls-Royce power and propulsion equipment, including Bergen medium speed gas engines. The company believes that it is on the threshold of a new era in environmental management for maritime sustainable development.

Elsewhere on the event agenda, a number of new features have been added to the three-day exhibition, including the Regional Power Hour series, which aim to educate through interaction and will be an opportunity to learn more about the growing markets of the Caspian and Africa from industry experts. The discussion is aimed at specific market challenges and complexities for companies looking to invest in these rapidly expanding markets, whether it is operators seeking new clients, yards looking to establish themselves in new regions, or suppliers targeting new markets.

This year’s event line-up also includes an Industry Outlook – 2020, Middle East, Africa and Caspian economical overview session on the first morning, with Dynamic Positioning (DP) capability and systems development dominating the final day’s debate on October 2.

Middle East Workboats & Offshore Marine 2013 has already signed up more than 165 exhibitors for this year’s event which will offer business and social networking both in the conference sessions and on the exhibition floor.

Exhibitors for the 2013 edition include ABS, Etihad Ship Building, IRSHAD, Stanford Marine and Topaz Energy and Marine.

Middle East Workboats & Offshore Marine 2013 takes place at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) from September 30-October 2. For more information see



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