ITS 2012 Barcelona | Report

The International Tug, Salvage & OSV Convention celebrated its 44th year in Barcelona between 28th May - 1st June. ITS last visited Spain a decade ago and in a space of only 10 years, the number of delegates has risen by more than a third to 426 and the number of exhibitors, at 112, has nearly doubled.

Many toasts were given and champagne shared during the week by key industry players at the 22nd ITS Convention, as alliances were formed, projects finalised and business deals made, proving once again that the conference is one of the most important networking events of the maritime calendar.

“Well done for an excellent show in Barcelona. We thoroughly enjoyed the events and appreciated your hard work. We made some excellent contacts.”
Simon Tatham, TugAdvise.

Damen Shipyards sponsored the ITS 2012 Golf Tournament and at the upbeat Welcome Cocktail Reception, also sponsored by Damen, introduced a new type of ASD tug, the 3212. The tug’s 85-tonne bollard pull range and revised hull form is the result of three years of research. Delegates were given the chance to explore the vessel and during the conference had the opportunity to venture out onto the water and experience the tug’s abilities for themselves.

The convention took place at the International Convention Centre, Barcelona - a vast, new conference space a stone’s throw from the beach. Lunches at the centre were sponsored by Uzmar, with tea and coffee breaks sponsored by MTU. The conference papers were well-received, addressing a number of issues at the forefront of the tug, salvage and OSV world.

The Costa Concordia incident captured the attention of both speakers and delegates, with questions arising as to whether the industry is fully-prepared for an incident on a larger scale. Research on the latest developments in resistant rope, a tugboat’s journey towards becoming the first hybrid tugboat in Europe, and the challenges surrounding vessel design in offshore wind farming were some of the other areas which sparked interest and debate.

At ITS, Robert Allan Ltd revealed that it will now act as the exclusive designer for all RotorTugs, with the line added to Robert Allan Ltd’s design portfolio.

Meanwhile, Corvus Energy announced a second siginificant conversion project with Foss Maritime Company, with Corvus replacing the existing battery pack aboard the hybrid harbour tug Carolyn Dorothy

“[The ITS] team were very responsive and pleasant and certainly portrayed a very professional presence at the show and events. Corvus Energy had a really productive week and it is really becoming apparent how much traction we are now gaining in the commercial marine world.”
Grant Brown, Corvus Energy Ltd.

The AKA stand was bustling and busy at the announcement of the launch of Rotterdam-based towing company Kotug International’s RT Adriaan. In March this year, RT Adriaan re-entered operation in the Port of Rotterdam as an 'e-Kotug', retrofitted with AKA’s XeroPoint hybrid propulsion system.

“We are very encouraged with the early results of the e-Kotug since its conversion to a hybrid Rotor®Tug and we are looking forward to realising the environmental and economical savings that are to come,” said Daan Merkelbach, manager, Nautical & QHSE, Kotug International.

The exhibition centre morphed from a business and networking environment to become a lively and relaxed social venue during the Armon Happy Hour and Holland Happy Hour, which ended two of the three busy conference days with a vibrant flourish.

The final day of papers was concluded with a Gala Dinner, sponsored by Caterpillar, which gave those in attendance a taste of the vibrant city of Barcelona. Street performers, mime artists and living statues set an enchanting scene before dinner was served and fiery flamenco dancers appeared. The evening was completed with a cabaret music act, dancing and presentation of silver dishes.

The Harbour Tour and Lunch was sponsored by the Shipowners’ Club and followed the picturesque Barcelona coastline with its sandy beaches, offering a glimpse of the bustling and busy port. Damen’s ASD tug accompanied the tour, further displaying its capabilities.

The Farewell Party, hosted by Remolcadores de Barcelona & Sar Remolcadores, offered a very civilised evening and a relaxing end to the conference, as two tugboats put on a display in the bright blue waters of the port below the elegant Grand Marina Hotel.

ITS 2012 offered delegates a rare chance to network with the key players in the industry, discuss the upcoming key issues sparking debate amongst professionals in the maritime world, expertly blending both business and social occasions. With ITS 2012 concluded and the stands packed away, further announcements and partnerships are expected on the back of the convention. After the success of the recent conference, already an air of anticipation surrounds the ITS 2014 convention, which is to take place in the vibrant, key location of Panama.

“It just gets better, and the new format worked very well.”
Alan Loynd, Brandscombe Marine Consultants Ltd.