The world's first fully electric tug is built in Vietnam by Damen Shipyards for the Port of Auckland

Hai Phong, 07 July 2020 - At Damen Song Cam Shipyard, the keel laying ceremony of the world’s 1st fully electric tugboat, the RSD-E Tug 2513, also known as SPARKY, took place. The ceremony was (digitally) attended by its customer, the Ports of Auckland; the designer and builders of the tug, Damen Shipyards in Gorkum and Damen Song Cam in Hai Phong; and the ambassadors of New Zealand to Vietnam and the Netherlands to Vietnam Ms. Wendy Matthews and Ms. Elsbeth Akkerman.

Image: ©Damen Song Cam

The private sector is the driving force for further green growth

Building and as of mid-2021 operating this fully electric tugboat is a meaningful contribution to the decarbonization of port operations, a greener maritime sector as well as a more sustainable world. The Netherlands, New Zealand and Vietnam are all nations committed to global sustainability. But the private sector is key when it comes to actual sustainable and responsible performance. Companies are the driving force in developing solutions and applications to lessen their environmental footprint while at the same time enhance their economic impact.

Mr. Allan D’Souza, General Manager Marine, Engineering and General Wharf Operations of the Ports of Auckland shared that their goal is being a zero emissions operation by 2040. The partnership with Damen Song Cam Shipyards to build a fully electric tug will contribute to this ambition. Mr. Joris van Tienen, General Director of Damen Song Cam Shipyard said he and his team are very excited to make a start on the construction of this innovative vessel and proud that they are able to maintain the building schedule despite the challenges of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic.

Image: ©Damen Song Cam

The triple win solutions

“A true and meaningful difference in sustainable development and climate action can only be achieved if governments, companies and consumers work together and co-create triple win solutions,” said Ambassador Elsbeth Akkerman. The design, building and operation of SPARKY contributes to people, planet and profit. “I also hope that this partnership is a solid base for a long-lasting cooperation between public and private partners in Vietnam, New Zealand and the Netherlands.”

The partnership investing in this tugboat will contribute in a meaningful way to the maritime sector’s reputation and ambition for further green growth.

For more information on the maritime sector in Vietnam, please contact the Embassy in Hanoi via email: