At around 10 am Saturday morning, the VB Bolero and VB Rumba entered the Port of Zeebrugge accompanied by the Union 8. The Union 8 is a tug that was built in 1996 and so the old generation was allowed to lead the new generation into the port. The tugs were welcomed by a small delegation of representatives from MBZ and Boluda Towage.
Boluda has won the towing concession for the period 2021-2025 and a condition was to reduce emissions. With the VB Bolero, VB Rumba, Union Koala and Union Panda, 4 ships of the Zeebrugge fleet already meet the IMO Tier III emission standards. The Union Koala and Union Panda were converted for that. It is expected that the rest will follow by 2021-2022, making Zeebrugge the first port to impose such high environmental requirements.
Both tugs were introduced to the limited group of representatives of MBZ and Boluda Towage Europe present by means of a water ballet. The VB Bolero and VB Rumba are manoeuvrable tugs and high-performing ships with a modern design on top. For Boluda Towage, 2 of these ASD 2013 tugs have been ordered from the Vietnamese Damen Song Cam Shipyard. After finishing, the ships were taken by ship to the port of Rotterdam where they were unloaded before starting their final leg towards their new home port. The names of both ships were coined by the Spanish owners, the Boluda family.
After the water ballet, both tugs left for the berth of the fleet near the Visart lock in Zeebrugge. There they joined their fleet mates. The tugs will also be manned by local crew members. The fleet currently consists of 8 powerful tugs. With the arrival of the new tugs, 2 faces from Zeebrugge are also disappearing: the VB Tiger left for Rotterdam on December 7 and the Union Coral will be deployed in Terneuzen. The Zeebrugge fleet currently includes the Union Koala, Union Panda, VB Emoe, VB Kiwi, VB Bolero, VB Rumba and Southampton.