The tug “Ibaizabal 15”, powered by LNG and diesel, is already part of the port service fleet of the Port of Bilbao, after the baptism celebrated with the presence, among other authorities, of the Minister of Economic Development and Infrastructure of the Basque Government Arantxa Tapia. It is the first tugboat with dual fuel propulsion built in Spain, and has involved a great engineering effort, due to the novelty of the design, and is an important step to advance in the provision of sustainable ships.
The ship is owned by Compañía Remolcadores Ibaizabal, holder of the license to provide the port towing service in the Port of Bilbao, and with its construction – carried out by Astilleros Murueta – this company complies with its investment plan regarding fleet renewal, innovation and modernization.
It is 28 meters long, 12 meters wide, with a gross register of 397 GT, a pulling capacity of 55 tons, and reaches a speed of 12 knots. Its most important feature is that it can use natural gas and, therefore, it is an example of the use of clean energy for transport and the environment promoted by the European Union through Directive 2014/94/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of the EU.
Ibaizabal, Astilleros Murueta, the Port Authority of Bilbao, State Ports, Enagás and the Basque Government, through the Basque Energy Agency (EVE), applied for a call for the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) of the CORE LNGas Hive project , which aims to contribute to the decarbonization of the European corridors of the Mediterranean and the Atlantic. From the joint proposal of the EVE and Ibaizabal, and coordinated by Enagas within this program, the “Ibaizabal 15” was developed.
In this context, the Basque Country has already led three LNG implementation projects in the maritime field, which have received funds from the European Commission. These projects have allowed to acquire a wide degree of technological development and specialization, and are the following:
1. The adaptation of the dock of the Bahía de Bizkaia Gas regasification plant so that small ships can load LNG from these facilities.
2. The commissioning of an LNG bunkering ship capable of supplying vessels both in port and abroad, which began operating in February 2018.
3. Lastly, the construction and start-up of a natural gas-powered tug, led by the Ibaizabal Financial Group, the “Ibaizabal 15”.
Source: Port of Bilbao