KOTUG Canada awarded contract for delivery and operation of three vessels for Trans Mountain Expansion Project

KOTUG Canada Inc., a partnership between KOTUG International B.V. and Canada’s Horizon Maritime Inc., has been awarded a long-term agreement with Trans Mountain, operator of Canada’s only oil pipeline servicing the west coast of Canada providing tidewater access to foreign markets for Canada’s petroleum resources. KOTUG Canada will provide escort towage to tankers loaded at Westridge Marine Terminal, and was selected for this purpose by shippers on the Trans Mountain Pipeline after a rigorous and competitive process, facilitated by Trans Mountain. Besides the strong technical specifications of these modern vessels, decisive factors for the award included KOTUG Canada’s commitment to a strong and innovative approach to Indigenous involvement and the partnership’s strong foundation in operational excellence in Canada and around the world. 

This agreement has been established in partnership with the Sc’ianew First Nation, located in Beecher Bay, on Vancouver Island. This strategic location along the Trans Mountain escort route will provide KOTUG Canada with a safe home for a dedicated berthing facility as well as support the commercial activities of the Sc’ianew First Nation in Beecher Bay. The escort tug names will commemorate two important people from the Sc’ianew community.

Chief Russ Chipps, Sc’ianew (Beecher Bay): “We have gone through great lengths, controversy and criticism to protect the ocean. This is just one part of our commitment to our people to do so. We want to be the centre for research, development and ocean protection, all while being the ambulance of the sea.”

The agreement provides the Expansion Project, and all other marine movements,  with necessary resources in support of Trans Mountain’s stringent commitment to marine safety and will further enhance the overall safety of vessel transits along the commercial shipping route between Westridge Marine Terminal in Burrard Inlet and the open ocean.

KOTUG Canada will provide and operate the two dedicated escort tugs, each approximately 50 metres long, with minimum bollard pull capacity of 110 T BP, which will be flagged in Canada and operated by highly skilled and capable Canadian mariners.

Provision of new technologies will assist to reduce underwater radiated noise and greenhouse gases. This includes the application of a revolutionary vessel hull coating developed in Canada by Graphite Innovation & Technologies. The vessels’ propulsion systems will use the latest engine drive technology.

KOTUG Canada will operate in close coordination with the Sc’ianew First Nation. The agreement also includes related training and development of community members of Indigenous communities to maintain the necessary experience and knowledge in the field of advanced safe tug operations and marine response. Importantly,  the partnership between KOTUG Canada and the Sc’ianew First Nation provides vessel crews opportunities to learn from traditional knowledge and operate with respect and appreciation of the unique natural habitat of British Columbia’s coastal environment.  

Ard-Jan Kooren, President and CEO, KOTUG International; Board Member and Director, KOTUG Canada: “We are proud to be selected as the exclusive provider of escort tug support to Trans Mountain tankers. It is an acknowledgment of the strong heritage, knowledge, and innovative culture of the combined companies of KOTUG Canada, who both have impressive track records. Our strong commitment to First Nations, social responsibility, and sustainability will successfully support Trans Mountain’s environment-focused safety initiatives.”

Also, under a separate transaction, KOTUG Canada has an agreement with Western Canada Marine Response Corporation (WCMRC) for the provision and operation of one dedicated offshore supply vessel (OSV), to support the protection of the Salish Sea/Haro Strait and Juan de Fuca Strait. The dedicated OSV is suitably equipped for 24/7 oil spill response services. This highly capable vessel possesses significant bollard pull capacity of 207 T BP and is also capable of vessel towing, if required to do so.

Together, these three KOTUG Canada operated vessels, based out of Beecher Bay, will help to further improve the safety of the marine network in the region. Early operations are expected to commence from late 2022.

Ian Anderson, President and Chief Executive Officer, Trans Mountain Corporation :“Today represents a significant milestone in meeting our marine shipping commitments as a result of innovative partnerships between marine industry and Indigenous communities. With KOTUG Canada’s operations based out of Beecher Bay First Nation on southern Vancouver Island,  these tugs will bring significant new tow capability to the region and will to raise the level of marine safety and emergency response, benefiting the shared waters of the Salish Sea. Chief Chipps and his community have shown great leadership in the protection of the marine environment, and this partnership will provide significant employment and commercial opportunities. I could not be happier for the Sc’ianew people. This is a great example of how shared values of protecting the marine environment, building capacity and growing local economies can work together.”

See the backgrounder for more information about the project and the vessel specifications.

Sean Leet, President and CEO, Horizon Maritime; Board Member and Director, KOTUG Canada: “Being entrusted by Trans Mountain and WCMRC to provide these critical marine support services to keep our coastlines safe is an honour and a responsibility that we place the highest level of importance on. Partnering with the Sc’ianew First Nation to deliver these services has been a remarkable and rewarding experience – we look forward to achieving further success together as we build on the momentum we have created.”

Kevin Gardner, President, WCMRC: “The offshore supply vessel (OSV) is a substantial enhancement of oil spill response capacity on Canada’s West Coast. Offshore supply vessels have proven to be very effective oil spill response ships. At 245 feet and with 1,000 tonnes of oil storage capacity, it will be the largest ship in our fleet. The OSV will allow WCMRC to mount a large-scale response within six hours anywhere along the shipping lanes. WCMRC will be outfitting the OSV with 4,000 feet of offshore boom, a high-speed sweep system and a high-capacity skimming system.”