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Fully electric milestone

The keel-laying ceremony for the world's first fully electric tug, in build by Damen for the Ports of Auckland, New Zealand, has taken place in Vietnam.

A notable milestone for a very notable vessel, the traditional ceremony was attended by Her Excellency Ms. Wendy Matthews, the ambassador of New Zealand to Vietnam and Her Excellency Ms. Elsbeth Akkerman, the ambassador of the Netherlands to Vietnam. Representatives of the Ports of Auckland attended the ceremony remotely via digital communication.

Built by Damen Song Cam Shipyard, together with joint venture partner Song Cam Shipyard, the RSD-E Tug 2513 is the world’s first fully electric tug and is set to make an important contribution towards meeting Ports of Auckland’s goal of being a zero emissions operation by 2040. With 80% of electricity in New Zealand already cleanly generated, the 70 tonnes bollard pull tug will complete a green energy cycle in the ports. Following a popular vote in which people were invited to select a name for the new vessel, the Ports of Auckland’s RSD-E Tug 2513 will be named ‘Sparky’.

Joris van Tienen general director of Damen Song Cam Shipyard said, “We are very excited to make a start on the construction of this innovative vessel. We are also very proud to be maintaining our schedule during this challenging time when the coronavirus pandemic continues around the world. This is due to the enormous efforts our staff have gone to in order to ensure a safe working environment.”

In keeping with tradition, the ceremony included welding coins to the keel. On this occasion, it was decided to weld two New Zealand 20 cent-pieces – thereby marking the year 2020. The coin is a distinctive one in the Spanish flower shape. It features a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II on the obverse and, on the reverse, a Maori carving of Pukaki, a chief of the Ngāti Whakaue iwi (tribe). The use of two coins allowed both the obverse and reverse sides of the coin to be displayed.

NOTE: In view of the effects of COVID-19, Seawork is happy to help Damen make clear the following “Please note: In some of these images the people attending the ceremony can be seen to be standing or sitting in close proximity to one another. This is due to the fact that Vietnam has now passed over 80 days without a new case of coronavirus infection and social distancing measures have been relaxed in the country. During the coronavirus crisis, Damen Song Cam Shipyard rigorously observed the safety measures in place and continues to treat the well-being of its personnel and the community as a priority.”

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