New Zealand’s leading port, Ports of Auckland, welcome the world’s first full sized, electric tugboat

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AUCKLAND, New Zealand, June 20, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Ports of Auckland are today welcoming an exciting addition to their fleet, with the highly-anticipated arrival of the world’s first full size, ship-handling electric tug. Affectionately named Sparky, as voted by New Zealanders in a public vote in 2020, the e-tug is part of an innovative project that no other port globally has previously embarked on.

Sparky marks the beginning of a new era for the Auckland Port, who are anticipating saving approximately 465 tonnes of CO2 in diesel emissions annually from the e-tug addition alone. Roger Gray, CEO of Ports of Auckland said, “Welcoming Sparky is an exciting day for us at the Ports of Auckland. Her arrival marks a big step towards the ports’ decarbonisation of operations and towards our long-term emissions reduction goals.”

The expected cost of operating Sparky is less than a third of the cost of running a diesel tug. Battery operated, the e-tug has a recharge time of approximately two hours and can run up to four shipping moves on one charge. For Allan D’Souza, GM Marine and Multi Cargo at Ports of Auckland and lead on the e-tug project, the arrival of Sparky has been six years in the making. “Back in 2016 when we first pitched the idea for a fully electric tug, we were told we were dreaming. To finally welcome her to Tāmaki Makaurau now is incredible.”

“You’ll be able to spot Sparky on the water as her superstructure is painted bright green, unlike our diesel tugs” says D’Souza. “What you won’t notice is noise or smoke; being electric she’s a lot quieter, and cleaner, than our current diesel tugs.”

There will be approximately six weeks of testing in Auckland before Sparky is fully commissioned and operational. “E-tugs are the future for ship handling and Ports of Auckland are proud to have led the way,” says Gray.

For photos, video and drone footage please see here.

Additional Sparky Notes

Sparky is the first Damen RSD-E Tug 2513. She has a 6-metre draft, is 24.73 length and has two azimuth thrusters with 3-metre diameter propellers.

Sparky has a 70-tonne bollard pull (the same as the port’s strongest diesel tug, Hauraki).

There are 80 battery racks holding 2,240 batteries, totalling 2,784 kWh of power.

To ensure absolute safety – of utmost importance in shipping – Sparky also has two 1000kW back-up generator sets which will only be used in cases of emergency or some fault that is not part of business as usual. We expect to use them at most, once or twice a year.

About Ports of Auckland

Ports of Auckland Ltd, Tāmaki Herenga Waka, plays a key role in Auckland and Pacific Island trade. As the port for New Zealand’s largest city, it has played a vital role in the Auckland economy for over 180 years.

Ports of Auckland is 100% owned by Auckland Council and serves Auckland’s growth through the efficient delivery of freight and being the country’s main port for car and container imports as well as the main cruise hub. The port has a rich history and takes pride in being the kaitaki – guardians – of the legacy.

Ports of Auckland aim to be emissions free by 2040.

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SOURCE Ports of Auckland

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