ITS 2014 Hamburg | Report

The International Tug, Salvage & OSV Convention celebrated its 46th year in Hamburg between 16th and 20th June. We look at some of the highlights of the event.

ITS last visited Hamburg in 1979 – and in the intervening 35 years, vessel technology has leapt forward, with many things now possible which could previously only have been dreamed of. Much of that technology was in evidence this year, both on the stands of the 106 exhibiting companies, and in the 25 conference papers presented during the three key days of the event.

Indeed, when Wolfgang Hurtienne, managing director of the Hamburg Port Authority, opened the proceedings, he remarked on the constant pace of development in the industry, and the 455 delegates present at the event were able to see for themselves the evidence of some of that development, including a first look at Damen’s Bernardus hybrid tug and at the innovative EDDY-1.

The papers themselves highlighted everything from new product launches to legal developments, with considerable focus on technical innovations, in particular energy-saving and cost-saving strategies. LNG was also examined closely, considering all ramifications, including the design of an LNG-powered OSV and also the particular set of challenges involved in coping with an LNG fire.

There was also a fascinating, chat-show-style discussion on stage between conference chairman Mike Allen, and Nick Sloane, the chief salvage master responsible for the on-going salvage of the Costa Concordia.

"Good standard of papers and exhibits. Social and professional networking good."
Kent Stewart, Maritime Engineers Pty Ltd.
 
"Excellent opportunity to get together and share the latest highlights and trends in the exciting world of tug industry!"
Marco Goiach, Wärtsilä Italia SpA


The exhibition area was a hive of activity, and as usual, many companies chose ITS as their platform from which to make significant announcements about business developments.
Spanish ship design company Cintranaval announced an agreement with propulsion firm Schottel and deck equipment manufacturer Industrias Ferri to conduct a research initiative under the project name ‘Smartug’.

Speaking at the convention, Guillermo Martin, technical manager, Cintranaval, said: “This is an investigation we are taking on with these specialised firms in order to check the ‘state of the art’ in tugboat design. We will conduct an integral study of all aspects of design, including all the systems onboard, in order to make proposals for an entirely new generation of tugboats.”

Logic Vision and Kotug announced their partnership for a new ERP (enterprise resource planning) solution, TugVision. The new solution is a Microsoft Dynamics NAV add-on that supports towage and salvage companies in growing their businesses.

Harrold van der Meer, COO/managing director Harbour Towage, Kotug, said: “We are very happy to be working with Logic Vision towards automation, decisiveness and improvement of our business processes. Being ahead in innovation and sustainability is embedded in our corporate culture.”

The Cat Propulsion Twin Fin system, Caterpillar Marine’s new diesel-electric solution that saves on fuel and emissions, while improving overall vessel performance, was launched at the event.

“We developed the Twin Fin system in partnership with Odense Maritime Technology (OMT) and Scandinavian Marine Group (SMG) – initially as a solution to make vessels operating in Arctic conditions less vulnerable to damage to the propulsion system,” said Mattias Hansson, Caterpillar Marine senior project manager.

“As the innovative concept has been engineered into vessels, we’ve been pleased to not only see increased reliability but improvements in fuel consumption and thrust performance as well.”

ITS also saw the signing of a contract between Damen and Wilson, Sons Shipyard of Brazil. The contract involves delivery of two Damen PSV 5000s, which will be built under licence by Wilson, Sons for Brazil’s state oil company, Petrobras.

Also at the convention, the boundaries of modern design and technology were pushed further thanks to a fascinating on-site piece of research into training and the brain’s response in critical situations on board vessels. K&S Projects, who had organised the exhibit, also had a ‘mental typewriter’ in situ for delegates and exhibitors to try ‘hands-free’ writing using only brain activity to form words on screen.

"It was a very attractive exhibition… great job! It was perfect!"
Kathrin Paepke, Caterpillar Marine.

"Good quality of clients with ‘real’ enquiries has made this show very worthwhile."
Brendan Cooley, International Maritime Services.


Such a wide-ranging event would not have been possible without the generous support of our sponsors. Samson provided delegate bags, MTU supported the coffee breaks, and Uzmar sponsored the lunches, adding in its own delicious array of traditional Turkish desserts, plus goodie bags for every delegate containing a hand-painted tile on a stylised nautical theme by leading ceramic artist, Mehmet Gürsoy.

Armon sponsored a very popular Happy Hour on the Tuesday evening – one of many networking opportunities during the week, themselves one of the key reasons that many of our delegates give us for returning to ITS year after year.

Another such chance to catch up with business contacts in an informal setting was the Welcome Cocktail Party on the Monday evening. Hosted by Damen, this was held at the base for the port’s tug operations, where delegates could take in, with the sweep of the eye, the whole range of vessels in service.

Schottel and Shipowners jointly sponsored the harbour tour on board converted paddle steamer Louisiana Star on the Friday, which included a tug ballet in Hamburg harbour with vessels from Fairplay, Bugsier, Petersen & Alpers and Lütgens & Reimers. The display, under the supervision of Capt Masemann, Port Traffic Controller, HPA (Hamburg Port Authority), echoed the original tug ballet held when the ITS Convention last visited the city.

"Great networking experience."
Penukonda Jairaj Kumar, Ocean Sparkle Ltd.

"My congratulations to ABR for the excellent organisation, and to the sponsors that made a great effort in ITS 2014. Good networking and meeting people with whom our company has a close commercial relationship."
Juan Antonio Secada, Petrolera Transoceanica SA.

"It always provides an excellent opportunity to meet the top players in the towage industry. ITS Hamburg did not disappoint. Far cheaper than flying the globe to meet tug owners who are concentrated at one event. The facilities were first class."
Simon Swallow, Shipowners Protection Ltd.

"I found ITS to be very informative on a wide range of issues, products, designs… I gained a huge amount of knowledge and maintained current relationships and just as importantly commenced new relationships."
Braddon Buckley, Riverside Marine.


The week had many other highlights, from radio-controlled model tugs in a purpose-built pool, to a tour of the Caterpillar facilities in Kiel and a pre-event golf tournament sponsored by Damen.

At the gala dinner, held in the Fischauktionshalle and sponsored by Caterpillar, The ABR Company chairman Allan Brunton-Reed added seven delegates to the prestigious Roll of Honour, which recognises 10 ITS attendances. Gordon Bain, Geronimo Bella, Arnaldo Calbucci, Hume Campbell, Karel Kaffa, Yuji Matsui and Kent Stewart all took away a commemorative silver Armada dish. The audience was then treated to a cabaret that rounded off a very successful and memorable event.

After such a positive response to ITS 2014, there is already much eager anticipation about the ITS 2016 convention, which is to take place in the vibrant, key location of Boston in the USA

"Another well-organised event. Venue and hotel excellent."
Elisabeth Fernie, Ayles Fernie International Ltd.

"Well organised, great location, attended by key decision makers."
Dan Babcock, Jensen Maritime.

"Excellent turnout of the key people and companies in the towing and salvage industry."
Dale Gusick, R W Fernstrum

"Excellent professional attendance. Good, smooth logistics."
Stephane Jacquemond, Twin Disc.