Top 10 Most Powerful Tugboats in the World

A tugboat is a special type of marine vessel used for manoeuvring larger ships into the port harbours or narrow waterways. They are also used for pulling and towing river barges and installing offshore production platforms and equipment.

The earliest tugboats were driven by steam power but the latest models are equipped with diesel engines. Some also possess firefighting equipment and impressive security features.

Let us have a look at the 10 most powerful tugboats in the world.

1. Island Victory

Island Victory
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Island Victory is a multi-purpose vessel designed by Kongsberg Maritime and owned by Island Offshore, an operator of advanced offshore service ships. Classed by DNV-GL as a Special Purpose Ship, it is a remarkable amalgamation of innovative marine engineering and incredible power.
Built-in 2020 at Vard Langsten, it is currently sailing under the Norwegian Flag and performs a wide range of duties involving heavy anchor handling operations and deep subsea installation works.

It has an LOA of 123.4 m, a breadth of 25 m and a 9.4 m draft. It has a 1200 square metre cargo deck and 7 rig chain lockers measuring 2,765 m3 and a moon pool capacity of 800 tonnes. The service vessel can accommodate a maximum of 110 people and has a bollard pull of 477 metric tonnes due to two powerful Rolls-Royce engines. It has a deadweight of 5866 tonnes and an 11,362 gross tonnage.
The most powerful tugboat in the world has exceptional equipment including a 250-tonne offshore AHC Crane, a 12-tonne deck crane and 2 rail cranes. It also has 2 ROVs that can easily reach an underwater depth of 4000 m.

As per the rules issued by NOFO, it can also work as an oil recovery ship in Norwegian waters and so it is decked with a 2300 m3 storage tank.

2. Far Samson

Far Samson
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The second most powerful offshore vessel in the world, Far Samson is owned by Solstad Offshore Company. It was constructed by STX offshore Norway and designed by Rolls-Royce as a multifunctional ship capable of performing diverse offshore operations.

Constructed in 2009, the vessel measures 121.5 m lengthwise and 26 m breadthwise with a carrying capacity of 6130 tonnes and a gross tonnage of 15,620 tonnes. It has two working decks covering 1450 m2 with a capacity of 2250 tonnes. Far Samson has an 8 m draft, with a bow bulb on its hull side for supplying water to its propellers. Another added advantage is that it can also operate in ice conditions.

It is equipped with 2 cranes and an ROV crane with a 20-tonne lifting capacity. It has a large moon pool consisting of two hatches and is propelled by two main engines having a hybrid propulsion system offering a bollard pull of 423 tonnes and a total installed power of 41,000 hp.

It can reach a maximum speed of 20 knots and has 22 single and 38 double cabins for accommodating 100 people. It is also equipped with a lobby, cafeteria, gyms, hospital and conference rooms.

3. Boka Falcon

Boka Falcon
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Boka Falcon is an offshore tug and a supply vessel constructed in 2011. It is operated by the Boskalis Westminster, a dredging company and marine services provider based in Hampshire, UK. Part of the Boskalis fleet, it is a multipurpose ship involved in ocean transportation, oil drilling projects, and subsea installation works of offshore production platforms and wind farms.

Currently sailing under the flag of Belgium, Boka Falcon is 93.40 m long, 22 m wide and has an 8.8 m draft. It has 21,961 kW powerful engines that provide a strong 403 tonnes bollard pull. Boka Falcon has a summer deadweight of 5033 tonnes and a 6776 gross tonnage.

Classified by Lloyd’s Shipping Register as an Anchor Handling vessel, it was involved in the company’s first-ever floating installation project ordered by Cobra Wind international in 2020. Boka Falcon laid the anchors and chains for anchoring the floating wind turbines in Scotland at an underwater depth of 80 metres.

4. Lewek Fulmar

Lewek Fulmar
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Sailing under the flag of Panama, the Lewek Fulmar is an anchor handler constructed by Drydocks World Singapore in 2011. Classified as a tugboat by the Llyod’s Shipping Register, it is not just a simple offshore service ship, but also capable of undertaking subsea construction works and repair, maintenance and safety duties. It was primarily designed by Rolls Royce for operating in the harsh climate of the North Sea.

It was ordered by Ezra Holdings Limited, a prominent company providing offshore solutions for the oil and gas sector. It is propelled by MAK 16vm 32c powerful engines with a total power of 21, 455 kW, allowing a bollard pull of 405 tonnes.

It has three decks and 2 cranes with a lifting capacity of 20 tonnes. It measures 93 m lengthwise, 22 m breadthwise and has a draft of 8.7 m. It weighs 5033 tonnes and has a gross tonnage of around 6776 tonnes.

Lewek Fulmar can easily accommodate 85 people and has a maximum sailing speed of 18 knots.

5. KL Saltfjord

KL Saltfjord
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KL Saltfjord is owned by K-Line Offshore, a subsidiary of Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha Limited. The Japanese Holding Company is present in all major shipping segments, including offshore support vessels, bulk carriers, LNG ships, containers, car carriers and oil tankers.

KL Saltjford was constructed in 2011 by STX yard as part of the company’s New Building program undertaken to expand its offshore service fleet. It is a strong anchor handler designed for operating in extremely harsh environments.

The tug boat has a total length of 95.20 m and a breadth of 24 m. Apart from a 397 tonnes bollard pull, it has large chains and is decked with IK WROV in its hangar which makes it ideal for use in pre-laying, high-tension works including ploughing and trenching.

It is equipped with an ROV hangar and advanced propulsion machinery. It has a 255 tonne A-frame for engaging in subsea construction works and a draught of 7.8 m. With a deadweight of 4800 tonnes, it can attain a maximum speed of 17 knots.

The service vessel is driven by two Wartsila W16V32 main engines with a total power of 36,000 hp. It is also fitted with two propellers and two reduction gears. KL Saltfjord has 20 single and 25 double cabins for accommodating 70 people.

6. KL Sandefjord

KL Sandefjord
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Part of the K-Line offshore service fleet, KL Sandefjord was constructed in 2011 and is one of the two anchor handling tug supply ships having an AH 12 CD design. The multipurpose vessel can engage in underwater seabed operation and deepwater trenching.

It is 95.2 m long, 24 m broad and has a draught of 7.8 m. The ship has a deadweight capacity of 4800 tonnes and a bollard pull of 390 tonnes. Its cargo decks cover 755 m2 and have a carrying capacity of 3250 tonnes.

Its hull was specially designed in Romania by STX Norway Offshore and was towed to the Langsten Shipyard in the Alesund district, Norway for outfitting work. The ship is equipped with two cranes and two RRM cargo rail cranes along with huge chains and fibre ropes.

The vessel can accommodate 70 people in its 45 cabins. It also has a living area, a conference hall, lounge, gymnasiums, a hospital and wifi access.

7. Skandi Hercules

Skandi Hercules
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The last four positions in the list of most powerful tugboats are bagged by Skandi Ships owned by DOF Group which consists of DOF ASA, DOF Subsea and Norskan Offshore Limited. These companies provide offshore and other marine services in the oil and gas sectors. Their ships are similar to K-Line vessels in terms of design and capacity.

The biggest multipurpose service vessel in their fleet is the Skandi Hercules. It was built in 2010 and has an LOA of 109.5 m and a breadth of 24 m. It has a 354-tonne bollard pull, and 2 main engines with a total power of 25,000 hp.

It is suitable for field installation works and can operate at a great depth and under extreme environmental conditions. With a 7.8 m draught, it has a deadweight capacity of 4960 tonnes.

It has a 970 m2 deck area with a cargo capacity of 2800 tonnes, a moonpool and a 68 m2 ROV hangar. The vessel is equipped with 2 deck cranes, 3 offshore cranes, 4 chain lockers, 3 shark jaws and 4 towing pins. 90 people can live onboard the Skandi Hercules.

8. Skandi Vega

Skandi Vega
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The Skandi Vega was also built in 2010 and is similar to Skandi Hercules as far as physical dimensions are concerned. It has an STX AH O4 design and is a DNV classified anchor handling tug and supply vessel sailing under the flag of Norway.

It was constructed for deepwater anchor handling operations. Presently, the vessel is operated by Equinor, a Norway based energy company. It measures 109.5 m lengthwise, 24 m breadthwise and has a draught of 7.8 m.

It has a moonpool and an operational deck area spanning 1075 square metres, a recovery frame and the second frame of 180 tonnes. It has a summer deadweight of 4428 tonnes and a bollard pull of 350 tonnes, less than Skandi Hercules. With a callsign 3YLA, the service vessel can accommodate 88 people.

9. Skandi Skansen

Skandi Skansen
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The ninth most powerful tugboat in the world, Skandi Skansen was constructed in 2011. It is small compared to other Skandi vessels however it has a highly efficient engine with a total engine power of 18, 360 kW. Infused with novel marine technology, it reduces carbon and nitrogen emissions by 90 per cent.

It has an overall length of 107.2 m and a breadth of 24 m. It has an 8 m draught and an average sailing speed of 8 knots. Skandi Skansen has a bollard pull of 349 tonnes and a deadweight capacity of 4982 tonnes respectively. Currently sailing under the flag of the UK, it can easily carry 90 people.

10. Skandi Iguaça

Skandi Iguaça
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The list ends with the Skandi Iguaca, a new generation high powered anchor handling tug supply ship designed for field installation projects. It was constructed in 2012 and is a part of the offshore service fleet of DOF ASA, a Norwegian shipping company.

The DNV Classified ship has an LOA of 95 m and is 25 m wide with a 7.8 m draught. Given its size, it has a commendable Bollard pull of 340 tonnes and a gross tonnage of 7099 tonnes. The vessel has 4700 tonnes DWT and is currently sailing under the flag of Brazil. Its home port is Rio De Janeiro and it can carry around 60 people.

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Disclaimer: The authors’ views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of Marine Insight. Data and charts, if used, in the article have been sourced from available information and have not been authenticated by any statutory authority. The author and Marine Insight do not claim it to be accurate nor accept any responsibility for the same. The views constitute only the opinions and do not constitute any guidelines or recommendations on any course of action to be followed by the reader.

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