How Svitzer has benefitted from 50 years of the ABB RR turbocharger

The Svitzer Sarah ship running ABB turbochargers
Svitzer has been running some of ABB Turbocharging’s products for more than 30 years and this longstanding partnership has played an integral part in the ABB RR turbocharger now celebrating its 50th birthday.

Svitzer is a leading global towage operator, with a fleet of 440 vessels working in multiple locations across four regions and more than 30 countries. The company has been running some of ABB Turbocharging’s products for more than 30 years and this longstanding partnership has played an integral part in the ABB RR turbocharger now celebrating its 50th birthday. 

Svitzer offer a wide range of services to customers throughout the world, including berthing and unberthing, escort towage, manoeuvring, pilotage, ice breaking, emergency response, safety patrol, personnel transfer and other marine services.

Most recently, the company was called into action in the Suez Canal, with two of its tugboats – the Svitzer Port Said 1 and Svitzer Port Said 2 – called in to assist when the 400m container vessel Ever Given famously ran aground last month, blocking one of the world’s most critical waterways.

Svitzer also plays a similar role in other countries around the world, and the company’s UK fleet is a key contributor within the nation’s maritime sector when it comes to ensuring the safe arrival and exit of larger vessels at numerous ports around the country.

The Svitzer Sarah is one of the company’s tugboats that operates in UK waters. Built in 1991, the tug has a gross tonnage of 379 tonnes, and runs two ABB RR221-14 turbochargers on its twin Ruston main engines. The Svitzer Sarah has been maintained by ABB Turbocharging’s service stations around the UK for the past 30 years, helping to keep the engines running efficiently and in top condition, and providing Svitzer with peace of mind that the Sarah will be ready for action at a moment’s notice.

The Svitzer Sarah in stats

  • Built: 1991
  • Engines: 2x Ruston main engines with 2x ABB RR221-14 turbochargers
  • Bollard Pull: 53T
  • Length: 30.58m
  • Gross Tonnage: 379T
  • Speed recorded: (Max / Average): 12.8 knots / 6 knots

Why the ABB RR turbocharger is still in use after 50 years

Having already provided 30 years of service, the ABB RR221-14 turbochargers aboard the Svitzer Sarah are a great example of what can be achieved when equipment is properly maintained. Their efficiency and reliability demonstrate exactly why the ABB RR turbocharger has been a mainstay of the marine world for an incredible 50 years.

Originally developed in 1971, the ABB RR turbocharger is designed for use on high-speed diesel and gas engines with an output range of between 500kW and 1800kW per turbocharger. They are equipped with pressure-lubricated internal bearings, and externally mounted ‘mixed-flow’ turbines and radial compressors, helping to keep vessels such as the Svitzer Sarah running reliably for decades.

With their wide compressor characteristics providing compressor ratios up to 3.5, along with their high efficiency, ABB’s RR turbochargers are ideal for diesel and gas engines developed for higher outputs, helping to provide improved fuel consumption.

Erik Mainkvist, Regional Technical Manager at Svitzer Europe, explains:

“The Sarah has operated all over the UK during the past three decades, and the good work performed by Svitzer’s skilled engineers on board and regular maintenance from ABB Turbocharging has helped the vessel to run reliably, efficiently and effectively throughout its operation.

“In a world where we’re aiming for sustainability, it’s great to see equipment running reliably for decades, and we’re looking forward to celebrating far more milestones with both the Sarah and its RR turbochargers in the future. Svitzer’s European fleet includes a wide mix of engine makers and we carry other ABB turbochargers onboard. We’re more than happy to report that they are all reliable.”