On Friday 10 January 2020, Boluda Towage Europe’s tugboat ‘Union Koala’ was officially certified for compliance with the IMO Tier III standards. The converted tug returned to service during a ceremony at the ABC Tower in Zeebrugge, Belgium.
Boluda Towage Europe has passed a new milestone: it is the first towage company in Europe to convert an existing tugboat, complying with the IMO Tier III standards. The company embarked on this project together with supplier Anglo Belgian Corporation with the aim of reducing shipping emissions and addressing local port authorities’ demand for cleaner operations in the port area.
To ensure that the vessel is complying with the IMO Tier III standard, the ABC engine’s exhaust fumes are subjected to a special after-treatment known as Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR).
Gert Van Den Steene, Manager Aftersales Department of Anglo Belgian Corporation: ‘The project posed quite a challenge – in that we needed to set up and install a complete SCR system on board an existing tug with a complex engine room, while retaining the tug’s operational and practical functions.’
The decision to select Union Koala was based on the available space in the tugboat’s engine room for installing the SCR system. In addition, Union Koala is still in service in Zeebrugge’s port area: the Zeebrugge port authorities attach strong importance to sustainability and promote reducing vessels’ environmental footprint.
Boluda Towage Europe’s CEO Geert Vandecappelle: ‘As a long-term partner of the Port of Zeebrugge, Boluda Towage Europe has committed itself through this project to the port authority’s environmental objectives. I am proud that through a joint effort, our technical department, Anglo Belgian Corporation and Flanders Ship Repair have brought this challenging project to a successful conclusion.’
When it comes to its sustainability policy, Boluda Towage Europe has not only limited itself to this initiative. The company also contributes to the reduction of shipping emissions in other European ports. At present, Boluda’s operational fleet includes five hybrid tugboats: RT Adriaan, RT Evolution, RT Emotion, Adventure and Experience. The company will be exploring further opportunities to increase sustainability in the near future.