STORY Commercial Marine

Ship of the year sails with mtu

Posted on March 11, 2024 by Lucie Maluck, Images by Signet Maritime

Thanks to their unparalleled maneuverability and low emissions, two mtu-powered American tugs have won the "Workboat of the Year" award.
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Uncompromisingly reliable mtu propulsion systems provide maximum maneuverability and a strong bollard pull for your workboat at all times.
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Signet Sirius and Signet Capella are the ships of the year 2023 in the USA. The international trade magazine "Work Boat" awarded this prize to the two tugs of the Signet Maritime shipyard. Each tug is powered by three mtu Series 4000 engines that were sold through the Rolls-Royce Power Systems Partner, Pacific Power Group (PPG).


Signet Sirius  and Signet Capella  are not only incredibly strong with a bollard pull of 92 tons, they are also the first vessels in the USA to receive an ABS ENVIRO and an ABS LEV (Low Emission Vessel) label. To achieve this, the Particulate Material (PM) emissions from the engines must be significantly below the Tier 4 commercial marine limits set by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) -- the latest generation of mtu Series 4000 engines do just that. Each of the 12-cylinder engines has a power output of 2575 bHP (1,920 kW) and benefits from over 25 years of evolution resulting in drastic improvements in the time between overhaul (TBO).  

"Signet Sirius" and "Signet Capella" are powered by three Tier 4 mtu Series 12V4000 M65L engines.

Rotortugs guarantee excellent maneuverability

The tugs have three drive systems installed in each tug: two in the bow and one in the stern. This typical rotortug design gives the two tugs, which were designed by renowned tug designer Robert Allen, unparalleled maneuverability and enormous stability on the water.  

Use in challenging waters

The Signet Sirius is already in service, escorting large oil tankers,  known as VLCCs, through the Texas Aransas Passage to Ingleside, the largest crude oil storage and export terminal in the United States. With its strong currents and comparatively high waves, the passage is particularly challenging for ships. "The stability in performance during a bollard pull with full engine power and pitch to the propellers, the vessel squats down in the water and stays uncharacteristically stable with little side-to-side movement. The engine metrics between the three are extremely tight providing consistent “continuous rated power” that we only get from Rolls-Royce & PPG," says Tim McCallum.  

Made for the toughest conditions: The "Signet Sirius" is already underway in the Texas Aransasa Passage, which is known for strong currents and high waves.

Christof von Bank, responsible for the Rolls-Royce marine business in the USA, was delighted with the award for the mtu-powered tugs: "We are very pleased with the results of this particular project, the performance of the mtu engine and SCR system has exceeded our expectations. It shows that we have one of the most powerful solutions on the market and we are confident that we will see more Series 4000 M05 engines in the tug market in the near future."

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