Damen Shipyards Group and Edison Chouest Offshore (ECO) are teaming up to build 13 azimuth stern drive (ASD), heavy-duty, mooring assistance and escort tugs. The new tugs will be used on two major maritime projects for which ECO has recently won contracts, based in part on the use of Damen tug designs. The 13 tugs will be built at ECO’s five shipyards, with Damen’s support and expertise.

The first contract the new tugs will be used for is ECO's new Corpus Christi, Texas, LNG export terminal project. The agreement calls for four escort tugs with a bollard pull of 80 tons each, to operate at the LNG terminal that's currently under construction. The Damen tugs will be based on its escort/mooring ASD 3212 design.

More recently, ECO was awarded a 10-year ship escort-response vessel system (SERVS) contract with Aleyska Pipeline Service Co. to provide tanker escort and spill response services in Prince William Sound, Alaska. ECO will take over from Crowley Marine Services beginning in July 2018. For the contract, ECO will need nine, high-powered escort tugs. For this highly environmentally sensitive project, Damen and ECO will work together to deliver four more ASD 3212 tugs with a bollard pull of 70 tons each. In addition, Damen and ECO have developed an escort tug specifically designed for the challenging weather conditions in Prince William Sound, the ASD 4517 with a bollard pull in excess of 150 tons.

“Chouest was pleased to have this opportunity to take Damen’s proven hull design and helped create a new, state-of-the-art escort design representing the most powerful ASD tug ever designed or built,” Gary Chouest, president and CEO of ECO, said in a statement announcing the partnership.

The contract between Damen and ECO was handled by Damen Area Support North America B.V. Co. in Houston, which opened on Aug. 1.

“Within just three months, Damen has won orders for the construction of 27 tugs at four different U.S. shipyards, and we have only just begun," Jan van Hogerwou, general manager, new construction, Damen Area Support North America, said in a statement.

Ken Hocke has been the senior editor of WorkBoat since 1999. He was the associate editor of WorkBoat from 1997 to 1999. Prior to that, he was the editor of the Daily Shipping Guide, a transportation daily in New Orleans. He has written for other publications including The Times-Picayune. He graduated from Louisiana State University with an arts and sciences degree, with a concentration in English, in 1978.