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HaiSea Marine’s electric tug achieves underwater noise milestone

HaiSea Marine’s electric tugboat, HaiSea Wamis, travels under Vancouver’s Lions Gate Bridge. Following noise trials in Indian Arm, the vessel has been distinguished as the first tugboat to be awarded the Underwater Noise Notation by the American Bureau of Shipping. It would require 10 of these vessels to produce the noise levels of one conventional diesel-powered tug. (Mike Savage photo)

A HaiSea Marine electric tugboat has been recognized as the first tugboat to be awarded the Underwater Noise Notation by the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS).

The recognition reflects a significant step forward for the Haisla Nation, HaiSea’s majority owner, in its mission to pioneer environmentally sustainable maritime operations within the Douglas Channel.

“When we formed HaiSea, we had a vision and a dream to design and build one of the greenest tugboat fleets in the world that would serve the Douglas Channel – this notation proves that together with our partners, we have achieved that dream,” Haisla Chief Councillor Crystal Smith said.

The HaiSea joint venture with Seaspan Marine is under a 12-year, $500-million contract with LNG Canada, providing essential tugboat services for LNG carriers.

The Underwater Noise Notation was awarded to the HaiSea Wamis after comprehensive sea trials along Indian Arm, where the vessel showcased its capability to operate with minimal underwater noise emissions.

These trials, which involved precise measurements using underwater hydrophones, affirmed the tugboat’s adherence to stringent noise performance standards.

Marine mammals rely heavily on sound for navigation, environmental perception, prey location and communication.

The introduction of marine vessel traffic poses a significant disruption to the acoustic environment, impacting whales’ behavior, displacing them from crucial habitats and interfering with their capacity to produce and perceive critical sounds.

The design of the HaiSea Wamis, undertaken by Robert Allan Ltd, a naval architect firm based in Vancouver, incorporates an innovative electric propulsion system that significantly diminishes noise and vibration. This design has been recognized by ABS, marking a pioneering achievement in the reduction of environmental impact within the maritime industry.

“HaiSea Wamis is so quiet that it would take 10 (of these tugs) running side-by-side to produce the same underwater noise as a single conventional diesel tug,” said Giorgio Burella, a vibration analyst with Robert Allan.

The HaiSea tugboat fleet is expected to relocate to Kitimat later this year.

About the Author: Quinn Bender

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