KOTUG Canada partners with Robert Allan Ltd. and Sanmar to build two powerful, high bollard pull Methanol Fuelled Escort Tugs

July 6, 2023

After a rigorous and competitive process KOTUG Canada (“KOTUG”) has selected Türkiye’s Sanmar Shipyards to build two RAsalvor 4400-DFM dual fuel methanol escort tugs – Robert Allan Ltd. design – to service the Trans Mountain Expansion Project (TMEP).

These tugs will escort tankers from the harbour limits of the Port of Vancouver to the open Pacific Ocean through the commercial shipping lanes of the Salish Sea. To provide this service, KOTUG Canada has partnered with Sc’ianew First Nation from Beecher Bay, which is strategically located along the shipping route.

These two innovative tugs, to be named SD AISEMAHT and SD QWII-AAN’C SARAH in honour of the Sc’ianew First Nation, are scheduled to be the world’s first large purpose-built high bollard pull methanol fuelled tugs when they enter service in 2025 and will provide significant environmental benefits to further reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and underwater radiated noise.

The relationship between Vancouver, BC based Robert Allan Ltd. and KOTUG dates back many years with KOTUG operating over a dozen Robert Allan Ltd. designed high bollard pull harbour and offshore ASD and Advanced Rotortug (ART) vessels internationally. Similarly, for almost thirty years, Sanmar Shipyards has been building industry leading high-quality tugs for Robert Allan Ltd. designs, including battery electric, LNG fuelled and tugs for the BC market.

Shipbuilding contract signing between KOTUG (Ard-Jan Kooren – Osman Munir Left) and Sanmar (Ali Gürün – Ipek Gürün Right)

“We are pleased to work again with Robert Allan Ltd. and look forward to our long-awaited cooperation with Sanmar, which is one of the leading tugboat builders in the world. I am proud that we continue our active green policy to provide sustainable towage services by building and operating two powerful high bollard pull methanol fuelled escort tugs” said Ard-Jan Kooren, President & CEO of KOTUG International and Executive Director of KOTUG Canada”.

“I am honoured to ink the contract of these unique first methanol fuelled new-build tugboats in the world. We have been building over the years the new generation of cleaner and greener tugboats to meet the environmental targets in the maritime industry, this is another very important milestone” said Ali Gurun, Chairman of Sanmar Shipyards.

“The RAsalvor 4400-DFM has been customized to meet the demanding operational and environmental requirements for this project. As a company based in Vancouver where these vessels will be operating, we are keenly aware of the crucial role these escort tugs will play going forward. We are gratified that KOTUG Canada has chosen to utilize these world leading tugs for such an important project in our own backyard.” said Michael Fitzpatrick, President & CEO of Robert Allan Ltd.

Tugboat details

The RAsalvor 4400-DFM escort tugs will measure 44 metres in length and are an evolution of Robert Allan Ltd.’s acclaimed escort tugs which operate in some of the harshest environments in the world. With over 115 tonnes of bollard pull they’ll be Canada’s most powerful escort tugs.

Both vessels will be equipped with a mechanical cross link system between the azimuth thrusters to enable a single engine to drive both propellers. They will also be equipped with main engine driven shaft generators to satisfy the vessel’s normal electrical needs. These features will allow the crews to optimize engine loading and significantly reduce fuel consumption and running hours of the main engines and gensets. Combined, these features will reduce the tugs underwater radiated noise, mitigating the effects of shipping on the Salish Sea’s Southern Resident Killer Whales. Additionally, KOTUG is having the hulls of both tugs coated with a graphene paint to reduce biofouling and enhance hull-smoothness which reduces underwater radiated noise and makes the vessels more fuel efficient. The escort tugs are equipped with firefighting equipment meeting the requirements of American Bureau of Shipping (ABS)’s FFV 1 notation and will have the largest spill response capabilities of any tugs on the BC coast to mitigate the risk of marine spills to the Salish Sea and communities from laden tankers as well as other commercial marine traffic.

High quality onboard equipment will include heavy duty electric winches fit fore and aft for reduced noise and to significantly reduce the risk of a hydraulic oil spill into the environment. The forward escort system has been customized to suit the requirements of the local pilots for tankers utilizing the TMEP. The aft towing system with a dual drum winch with 2 x 1,000 m of steel wire is among the largest fit to an escort tug and combined with the vessel’s exceptional manoeuvrability provides the capability to perform emergency towage of vessels along the route that may find themselves in distress.

Inside, the accommodation will include spacious dedicated cabins and ensuites for all regular crew, all with natural light, and well in excess of regulatory standards. To facilitate training and additional response capability, extra berths will be provided for use by Western Canada Marine Response Corporation (WCMRC) spill response technicians. Particular attention has been paid to minimize noise and vibration aboard the vessels, with a crew comfort (habitability) class notation to be assigned by ABS along with ENVIRO and SUSTAIN notations demonstrating the projects reduced environmental impact.

We encourage readers to stay tuned to our social media accounts for regular updates as these inspiring vessels come to life at Sanmar’s world class facilities.

RAsalvor 4400-DFM Dual Fuel Methanol Escort/Rescue Tugs

Media contacts

Jacqueline van den Heuvel
telephone: +31(0)10 820 1063

Paarull Bakshi
telephone: +1 (604) 736 9466

Arzu Goren
mobile: +90 531 845 08 02

About KOTUG International

KOTUG is a leading maritime family-owned company, offering its innovative towage and maritime related services on a global scale. KOTUG is firmly committed to the highest industry standards of health, safety, environment, quality, and security. Adding value by sustainability-focused innovations, KOTUG provides the complete portfolio based on a combination of long-standing knowledge and advanced technologies. From designing, building, chartering and operating vessels to training people and providing innovative consultancy services. The company’s expertise is divided across five pillars: Towage, Training & Consultancy, Intelligence, Subsea and Maritime Excellence. KOTUG is active in Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa, Middle East, North and South America and the Caribbean and continues to expand its operations worldwide. www.kotug.com


Kotug Canada is a Partnership between Kotug International BV and Horizon Maritime Services Ltd. KOTUG Canada offers a broad range of towage and maritime services across Canada, bringing together the combined experiences, expertise, and best practices of two industry-leading companies: KOTUG International and Horizon Maritime. Our areas of expertise include Terminal Towage, Harbour Towage, Offshore Support and Salvage Operations. KOTUG Canada also charters vessels to clients worldwide on short- and long-term contracts. KOTUG Canada combines global knowledge with local expertise and local partners. We are firmly committed to the highest industry standards of health, safety, environment, quality, and security. It is our mission to exceed client expectations for the benefit of all stakeholders with an unmatched commitment to First Nations, social responsibility, and environmental sustainability. www.kotugcanada.ca

About Robert Allan Ltd.

Robert Allan Ltd. is a firm of internationally recognized Naval Architects in Vancouver, Canada. Since 1930, we have built a reputation for innovative designs for vessels of almost all types, from high-performance tugs to ferries to sophisticated research vessels. We offer independent professional marine design and consulting services, supported by the latest in computer-aided design technology. We are strongly committed to ensuring that all vessels built to our designs offer the highest standards of safety and operational integrity for their Owners and for the crews that work on them. www.ral.ca

About Sanmar

Having almost five decades of experience, Sanmar has a reputation for innovation and excellence at its custom-built state-of-the-art shipyards at Tuzla and Altinova in Türkiye. Renowned for a wide portfolio of technologically advanced tugs based on world-leading designs from naval architects such as Robert Allan Ltd., built on demand to customers’ specific operational needs, Sanmar leads the world in the construction of tugboats, with more than 300 built to date. Leading the way to a sustainable future through technological advance, Sanmar’s range of tugs includes battery powered, LNG-fuelled, hybrid and autonomous vessels. Also a tug operator, it prides itself on focusing on minimizing or eliminating negative environmental impact. Sanmar Shipyards works in close partnership with customers at every stage and offers unrivalled after sales and post-delivery technological support. For more information, please visit: www.sanmar.com.tr