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HaiSea Marine – a partnership venture between the Haisla Nation and Seaspan ULC – has been contracted to build and operate hybrid electric escort and harbour tugs for LNG Canada’s Kitimat export facility.

In a statement issued last week, LNG Canada said that HaiSea Marine will provide ship-assist and escort services to LNG carriers navigating Douglas Channel and approaches in Kitimat Harbour.

Designed by Vancouver-based naval architects and marine engineers Robert Allan Ltd. (RAL), the tugboats will use battery-electric power and LNG, which LNG Canada says will make them ‘one of the greenest tug fleets ever assembled’.

The new tugs will arrive ‘well in time for LNG Canada’s first cargo at mid-decade’.

The tugboat models in the Kitimat fleet will include the ElectRa 2800 and the RAstar 4000 DF.

At 28 metres in length, with approximately 70 tonnes bollard pull and 5240 kWh of battery capacity each, the ElectRA 2800 battery-electric harbour tugs will perform the majority of their ship-berthing and unberthing missions on battery power.

According to LNG Canada: ‘With ample clean hydroelectric power available in Kitimat, the harbour tugs will be able to recharge from dedicated shore charging facilities at their berths between jobs, effectively reducing emissions to near-zero. Because of their battery propulsion, they are also expected to be exceptionally quiet, both onboard and underwater.’

The larger RAstar 4000 DF vessels – which will be the most powerful Azimuth Stern Drive (ASD) escort tugs on Canada’s west coast – will perform the majority of their missions using LNG as their primary fuel.

LNG Canada said that, as a fleet, the new escort and harbour tugs are expected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by up to 10,000 tonnes per annum compared to diesel-powered alternatives, with major reductions of nitrogen oxides, sulphur oxides, carbon monoxide, and particulate matter as well.

Crystal Smith, Chief Councillor of the Haisla Nation, said: ‘As majority owner of HaiSea Marine, we’re excited about the opportunities Haisla members will have working locally in the marine industry. It’s extremely important to us that aside from being one of the most powerful tug fleets on the west coast, it will also be one of the greenest ever assembled, anywhere.’

Captain Mark Turner, LNG Canada’s Marine Superintendent, added: ‘The ElectRA 2800 and RAstar 4000 DF tugboats will be a welcome sight in Kitimat Harbour and Douglas Channel.

‘They represent our commitment to federal and provincial authorities, First Nations, communities and joint venture partners, and demonstrate our operational safety philosophy, environmental stewardship with respect to zero emissions and underwater noise mitigation.’

AMERICAS: Canadian government investing $275 million in Kitimat LNG complex

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