New tug boats featuring GE's 12-cylinder V228 diesel engines are currently operating in the Panama Canal, and more are on the way. One of the new boats, the Sajalices, was christened on April 19th by GE Transportation's VP of Propulsion Systems & Services, Tina Donikowski.
"It was a huge honor to be chosen to christen the Sajalices," said Donikowski. "I was not aware that only a woman can christen a boat, and she is known as the 'Godmother' of that vessel. The operators and crew were very excited to receive the new tug, and they are quite pleased with the performance of the GE engine."The Sajalices marks the fifth of 13 tugs that were ordered in 2008 by the Panama Canal Authority (ACP). The tugs were designed by Robert Allan Ltd. in Vancouver, and built by Cheoy Lee shipyard in Hong Kong. Two additional tugs will also be delivered from SIMA shipyard in Peru later this year. Each boat uses two GE V228 engines. The ACP ordered the tugs in an effort to modernize and improve the canal’s infrastructure. Increased demand for goods to be shipped to and from Asia has commensurately increased the canal's traffic demand beyond its capacity, which has led the ACP to expand capacity.
The new boats will serve to modernize the ACP’s tug fleet, and will support the canal's increased traffic by positioning vessels to be moved through the lock system. Vessels are moved through the lock system using locomotives.
In addition to the 26 engines in this order, the ACP has tendered for another 14 tugs. Should GE win this, it could mean an additional 28 to 42 engines, depending on how the new tugs are configured. These boats would serve the expansion portion of the canal.
When asked about the significance of the ACP deals, GE Sales Manager Patti Trites stated, "This is such an important piece of business for GE Marine, as is the current open tender - this continues to be a GE Marine team effort."
GE Global Sales Manager Dave Zimmerman added, “This was a great strategic win for us and gives us a great reference to use worldwide. It was accomplished after years of great teamwork by the GE team and our distributor Marinsa working with all stakeholders in the chain: naval architects, shipyards, and the Panama Canal.”
GE's V228 engines are manufactured in Grove City, PA. More information on the V228 can be found here.