Batteries included: Damen marks a milestone in electric tug project

Written by Nick Blenkey
All electric tug oustide paint shop

Delivery of all electric tug is expected by the end of this year

Damen Shipyards Group has reached a major milestone in the construction of its first fully-electric reversed stern drive tug. Named Sparky, the RSD-E Tug 2513 ship handling tug is under construction for New Zealand’s Ports of Auckland at the Damen Song Cam Shipyard in Vietnam.

The yard recently installed the tug’s batteries —all 2,240 of them. With a total of 2,784 kWh of battery capacity, Sparky will be able carry out two or more berthing/unberthing operations on a single charge, delivering up to 70 tonnes bollard pull. It will take just two hours for the tug to recharge to its full capacity.

For redundancy purposes, the batteries are arranged in strings. If one battery in a string were to fail, the others would simply carry on the work.

Ports of Auckland placed the order with Damen in August, 2019. The ports’ intention is to be fully zero emissions by 2040.

Work continues on Sparky and Damen anticipates delivery to be end of this year.


Damen Shipyards group already has extensive experience in the construction of fully electric vessels. It has delivered seven fully-electric ferries for the City of Copenhagen in Denmark and a fully-electric cutter suction dredge for an Australian client.

The shipbuilder is also constructing two fully electric road ferries for Ontario, Canada, along with six hybrid road ferries for BC Ferries that are being prepared for future conversion to full electric. Additionally, Damen is constructing nine waterbuses for operation by Blue Amigo in the Netherlands. Three will be fully electric, while the remaining three will be hybrid vessels, but prepared for future conversion to full electric. able.

Damen’s strategy is to further develop electric versions of its existing ship types.

Tug is seen here being transported to shipyard’s paint shop.

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