tugboat damen

Tugboats (Tugs)

As tugs and escort vessels aim for efficiency, Bureau Veritas’ offers industry-leading Rules and services to support compliance, performance and environmental protection.

Expert tug support

The shipping industry’s most recent demands for tug performance have facilitated an array of new designs and technologies. They also emphasize the need to minimize environmental impact. Operational requirements for tugboats are constantly expanding, with high expectations for the reliability and efficiency of vessels. Authorities and offshore terminal operators also require increased availability of escort and offshore terminal tugs to assist ever larger ships, which frequently operate in severe weather conditions, including icy and Arctic waters.

How we support you 

Bureau Veritas is the #1 classification partner for tugboats. We actively participate in the development of international shipping standards and introduce Rules that anticipate the growing demands of innovative vessel design.

Bourbon Yack - Courtesy Bourbon  - Tugboat - Tugs

Industry-leading Rules for tug safety

As a leading classification society, Bureau Veritas is dedicated to the creation and support of international shipping standards. Our expertise in tug design assessment has led us to develop improved stability requirements for towing and escorting vessels. These Rules have since been adopted by IMO as the international gold standard for the tug sector.

Green Tugboat - Courtesy OStenjo Rederi

Supporting design of green tugs

In recent years, the shipping industry has seen a rise in green propulsion alternatives (e.g.., electric hybrid, LNG propulsion), as reducing emissions and fuel consumption have become major decision-making factors. However, tugboat safety issues must be addressed before vessels change their fuel systems. This requires a comprehensive regulatory framework to identify risks and implement necessary mitigation measures.


Tugboats - Courtesy Multraship  - Ship Classification

Work on advanced designs

In the race for high performance escort tugs, Bureau Veritas is at the forefront of concept approvals for advanced vessel design. Our design review allows us to assess ships with a range of innovative equipment, including environmentally friendly fuel systems; carrousel designs that enable faster, safer work; and batteries that allow for maximum bollard pull and feature increased installed power. We also offer classification of specialist tugs for offshore towing and support operations. vessels (AHTS) built to handle anchors for oil rigs and tow them to location.

Bollard pull tugboat - tugs

Guidelines for Bollard Pull testing

As part of an international consortium of classification societies, Bureau Veritas has been working to develop harmonized international bollard pull test guidelines for tugboats.

Autonomous Tugboat - Courtesy of Damen Shipyards


Recent technological developments., notably increased connectivity, computerized control systems and cyber risk management tools, are pushing the marine industry towards semi-autonomous operations. This is particularly relevant for high-risk operations such as towing in order to reduce the risk of personal accidents. To assist shipyards and owners, Bureau Veritas has published the “Guidelines for Autonomous Shipping”, introducing tiers of autonomy for ships and systems with direct or remote control. These Guidelines provide in-depth recommendations for risk identification and mitigation, ensuring that autonomous systems function reliably.


Among shipping’s most valuable assets are intelligent data and real-time, connected equipment. However, digitalization has also created significant vulnerability. Cyber-attacks are increasing in sophistication and frequency around the world, and without a proportionate increase in awareness in the shipping industry.

In this context, ‘business as usual’ does not serve fleet owners and managers. At Bureau Veritas, we understand that cybersecurity is critical to safety in shipping. To help protect our clients, we have leveraged our maritime expertise to develop best-in-class cyber security services:  

  • Global network of leading cybersecurity experts to secure ship designs and run efficient testing
  • Detailed notations and practical guidelines for both ships in service and new buildings
  • Leading regulation compliance for IMO, Flag administration, IACS, OCIMF, BIMCO, ICS, and more

Photo credits ©Bourbon, Multraship, Østensjø Rederi, Damen