Harland & Wolff to lead new consortium developing zero emission tug vessels

A new barge being lowered into the water at Harland & Wolff's Belfast shipyard.
A new barge being lowered into the water at Harland & Wolff's Belfast shipyard.

HARLAND & Wolff is to lead a consortium of companies to develop and build new zero emission tug vessels.

The Belfast shipbuilder has entered into heads of terms with Macduff Shipyards in Scotland, Norway’s Kongsberg Maritime and Swedish energy storage company, Echandia.

The four parties will come together to create a UK consortium with the goal of building a zero emissions harbour and coastal tug.

The envisaged tug will be 25.5 metres in length and be capable of pulling up to 50 tonnes.

Harland & Wolff said its role will lead the project and build the vessels.

Macduff will be responsible for its design, Kongsberg for propulsion and vessel control systems, while Echandia will develop battery and electrical control systems.

It’s unclear how much of the work will be carried out at Harland & Wolff’s Belfast shipyard. The company also operates three sites in England and Scotland.

In a statement to the market, the listed Harland & Wolff Group said the consortium believes that a significant number of such vessels will be required in the coming decade.

It said the technologies being deployed will also be scalable.

Earlier this year, Harland & Wolff signed a major contract with Spain’s state-owned shipbuilder Navantia to deliver three naval support ships to the UK’s Ministry of Defence.

The fleet solid support deal is expected to generate between £700m and £800m in revenue for the company, which much of the work centred in Belfast.

Commenting on the latest deal, Harland & Wolff boss John Wood said: "As part of our ongoing commitment to fully embrace the UK National Shipbuilding Office's aims and in our drive to net zero, we are pleased to have put together this consortium.

“Not only are these the first vessels of this type to be designed and constructed in the UK, but they also provide firm foundations for the build of various vessels requiring this type of technology in the future.

“We are delighted by the initial feedback that we have received from potential clients and look forward to seeing these vessels come to life in our shipyards."