The ‘Statum’ is typical of many small pusher tugs that operate on the Dutch waterways, many of them owned by their skipper. This tug has a length of just 15.5metres and a beam of 9.2metres and in 2017 the owner decided that it was time to replace the two ageing Caterpillar diesels with something new.

The Statum has regular work and operates for over 5,000 hours annually, pushing two barges which are used to transport 4,000 to 6,000 tonnes of raw materials for cattle feed. The main engines on the Statum were replaced with a pair of Yanmar 755hp diesels and so far the owner is very pleased with the results.

Repowering took five weeks altogether and was carried out in a shipyard in the Dutch town of Urk. The old V-12 Caterpillars were removed via a trunking over the engines and as they were still in working order they were sold off to Africa. The new Yanmars were installed through the same trunking aperture and according to the owners the whole operation went smoothly. “The old engines came out through the trunking and the new ones were hoisted in,” said Gjalt Van der Meer, the owner/skipper. “The gearboxes were replaced at the same time with new units from the Yanmar subsidiary company Kanzaki. These have a reduction of 6.57:1 which results in about 280rpm for the prop shaft, which is a fine RPM for a pusher tug. We took the opportunity to replace the propellers as well which often results in a nice efficiency gain.”

The pusher-barge combination is 176 metres long. The engines have now run almost 2,000 hours and Van der Meer is pleased with them. “They're nice engines and I'm very happy with them. We operate day in, day out and our client wants to be sure of the transport. That means we need durable, reliable engines. Yanmar is relatively unknown as a brand within inland shipping, but they've enjoyed an excellent reputation in the maritime and recreational sectors for years now. One advantage is that these Yanmars still use mechanical fuel injection. They're unpretentious engines that you can still work on yourself if a part needs replacing. And the number of cylinders has been halved now compared with the old engines.”

The engines installed are the direct-injection 6AYM-WET and this engine is also available in electronic variations with common rail injection, the 6AYEM-GT & ET. When it comes to service, says Van der Meer: “The service department is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and they make sure that if something should break, parts are available.”

By Dag Pike