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Port Of San Diego Commissions Construction Of First Fully-Electric Tugboat

Port of San Diego building in the Embarcadero, Dec. 13, 2020.
Port of San Diego building in the Embarcadero, Dec. 13, 2020.

The Port of San Diego has commissioned a shipbuilder to construct its first electric tugboat, which it hopes to have in service by mid-2023, it was announced Monday.

Crowley Maritime Corporation will build and operate "eWolf," which the company claims will be the first all-electric powered harbor tugboat that can complete a job without expending a drop of fuel.

"Crowley's first-of-its-kind electric tugboat is a game changer," said Michael Zucchet, chairman of the Port of San Diego Board of Port Commissioners. "It checks all the boxes by providing environmental, economic, and operational benefits for our communities and maritime industry."


"We are proud to work with Crowley and couldn't be more pleased the eWolf will operate exclusively on San Diego Bay," he continued.

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The 82-foot vessel with 70 tons of bollard pull is part of Crowley and the maritime industry's efforts toward sustainability and decarbonization.

Over the first 10 years of its use, the company claims the operation of the new eTug will reduce 178 tons of nitrogen oxide, 2.5 tons of diesel particulate matter and 3,100 metric tons of carbon dioxide, versus a conventional tug.

The electric tug will replace one that consumes more than 30,000 gallons of diesel per year. The eTug will operate at the Port of San Diego's Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal and is scheduled to become operational by mid-2023.


"The eWolf represents everything Crowley stands for: innovation, sustainability and performance," said Tom Crowley, company chairman and CEO. "With this groundbreaking tug design, our team continues to embrace our role as leaders in the maritime industry while providing our customers with innovative and sustainable solutions done right."

The eTug will be built by Master Boat Builders in Coden, Alabama, utilizing the design and on-site construction management by Crowley Engineering Services and its recently integrated Jensen Maritime naval architecture and marine engineering group. The eTug's battery system will be charged at a specially designed, shoreside station developed with Cochran Marine.

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The eWolf is planned to feature a fully electric design that allows the vessel to operate with full performance capabilities and zero carbon emissions.

"This vessel will set a standard in the U.S. maritime industry for sustainability and performance, and its zero-emissions capability and autonomous technology will benefit the environment and the safety of mariners and vessels," said Garrett Rice, president of Master Boat Builders.

The eTug will be a result of a partnership among Crowley, the San Diego County Air Pollution Control District, the California Air Resources Board, the Port of San Diego, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Maritime Administration, which all provided financial support and other resources.