Tugnology '17 Rotterdam | Report

The largest Tugnology to date took place in Rotterdam as a record 392 delegates from 34 countries registered for the two-day conference in the city’s World Trade Centre, marking the 10th anniversary of the event.

Papers again covered a wide range of tug-specific topics including stability, latest developments in propulsion, the increasing use of CFD in tug design, remote monitoring, engine management and reducing environmental impact.

A recurring theme through many of these papers was the importance of safety – a subject that this year saw a new format to the conference in the shape of a forum on the challenges of tug safety. Chaired by Robert Allan, the forum comprised of a panel of industry stalwarts fielding a range of questions from delegates – asked in person from the floor or via the Tugnology Web App, another new innovation for this year. The result was a lively and informed discussion.

The event began on Monday 22 May with a welcome reception hosted by Rotortug and JonRie InterTech on Kooren Terminal, a state-of-the-art maritime event pontoon on the Rotterdam quayside. This informal networking opportunity also included an appearance by RT Borkum, the Robert Allan Ltd designed new training Rotortug, the ART 10-15. After a demonstration to show off its dexterity and manoeuvrability, the vessel was moored alongside the Kooren Terminal throughout the evening allowing delegates to go on board for a viewing and guided tour.

One notable absentee from Tugnology ’17 was chairman of The ABR Company, Allan Brunton-Reed. It was the first time Allan had been unable to attend either a Tugnology or ITS event, a record dating back to the first ITS conference in 1969. Garth Manson, managing director of The ABR Company, therefore stepped into the limelight to officially open the event on Tuesday 23 May and welcome the many returning delegates as well as plenty attending their first Tugnology. Garth then handed over to René J de Vries, State Harbour Master for the Port of Rotterdam, who gave the inaugural address.

In addition to the conference, the event included an exhibition with 55 companies – another Tugnology record – taking part, featuring several deals and other announcements over the two days. These included the signing of a contract for a Bogacay Class tug between Turkish shipbuilder Sanmar Shipyards and UK-based Targe Towing; a contract between another Turkish shipyard, Uzmar, and naval architects Robert Allan Ltd for three exclusive new-design tugboats; and a presentation to mark the 1,000th tug designed by Robert Allan Ltd.

Key to making Tugnology a success are the many sponsors who work with The ABR Company. This year, MTU were responsible for the delegate bags. The company also sponsored the tea and coffee breaks, while Uzmar Workboat & Tug Factory sponsored lunch on both days, ensuring delegates were kept refreshed throughout the conference.
On the Tuesday evening, the conference hall was transformed for the event dinner, sponsored by Damen, with the pre-dinner drinks sponsored by Samson. Both the dinner and drinks reception were further opportunities for informal networking and catching up with old friends.

The official photographer in attendance for the duration of the event was sponsored by Caterpillar. For energetic early-birds, morning runs along part of Rotterdam’s attractive waterside were organised by IMS.

Feedback from delegates has been very positive, with 95% of attendees giving Tugnology ’17 an overall rating of excellent or good. Here is a selection of some of the many comments:

“Every year it amazes me that you can bring the entire world tug community together in one location.”

Joop Timmermans, Port Towage Amsterdam BV

“Excellent event for meeting people in the tug industry.”
Leslie Lee, Hong Kong Salvage & Towage

“Excellent experience and I recommend it to others.”
Walid Elmallah, Al Masaood

“It was well worth us attending this event. The papers presented were quite interesting and the social evenings were well organised.”

Raymond Bartolo, Tug Malta Ltd

“Nucleus of the tugboat industry. The right people at the right place. Good mixture of presentations and time for networking.”

Dr Matthias Schlipf, MAN Diesel & Turbo SE

“The organisation of the conference was excellent. The subjects of the papers were very interesting and useful.”
Arnaldo Calbucci, Wilson, Sons

Tugnology '17 provided us opportunity to see, communicate and networking with most of tug related persons in our sector. It also gives us chance to follow developments, experiences and explorations in tug boat business.”

Bilgehan Acerer , Bogazici Denizcilik AS

The feedback is also valuable in terms of what can be done differently at Tugnology ’19, planning for which has already begun.