Bluewater Engineering Limited (BWE), the inventor of SKYTUG®, has just been awarded a UK patent for SKYTUG’s core technology to engage, control and retrieve a multiple kite array. Several international patents are pending.

Remote operation of the self-inflating kites is the key to managing the significant pulling power from the kite array, which, transmitted via arrangements on the tug, is sufficient to tow a large cargo ship at normal speed without using the towed ship’s main engine.

ICE’s important contribution to the development of SKYTUG® has been to design and tank test the catamaran hull, fitted with controllable daggerboard type hydrofoils to counteract the pulling force from the kites and keep the tug and thus the towed ship going in the desired direction. ICE is now assisting BWE in seeking funding for further development, ultimately involving building a full-size (75m x 32m) prototype vessel.

The SKYTUG® development ( has been supported as part of the UK’s Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition, funded by the Department for Transport, and delivered in partnership with Innovate UK.

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