Wärtsilä, the marine industry's leading ship power systems integrator, has signed a Letter of Intent with the renowned Canadian ship design company Robert Allan Ltd. to develop a Strategic Cooperation Agreement.

Vancouver-based Robert Allan Ltd. is a leading specialist designer of tugs and other harbour and coastal vessels. Both parties see market opportunities for advanced tug designs, utilizing improved hull forms and new fully integrated power and propulsion technologies. The aim of the cooperation agreement will be to jointly develop advanced, environmentally sound solutions, resulting in a range of optimized tug designs to be supplied by Wärtsilä for the world market.

Both Wärtsilä and Robert Allan Ltd. have developed their own plans for modernising and improving tug design, and see significant advantages in co-ordinating their R&D activities in a strategic cooperation.

Evolving emissions regulations will inevitably require the redesign of many vessel types. This is especially true for vessels operating in the proximity of large population centres, as is the case with tugs in ports.

"The economic viability of advanced technical solutions can only come about through an integrated approach. By combining our companies' complementary expertise in ship design and integrated technologies, we believe that such viable solutions can be attained," said Mr Wilco van der Linden, Director Business Development, Wärtsilä Ship Power.

"Robert Allan Ltd. will provide tug design expertise, and in particular the development of advanced, high-performance hull forms for new designs that will embody Wärtsilä's advanced technical power, energy-conservation and environmental solutions. These complementary capabilities will provide a valuable service to the international tug industry," said Mr Robert G. Allan, Executive Chairman of Robert Allan Ltd.