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Ports of Auckland and Damen a winning combo

Ports of Auckland and Damen Shipyard's Sparky win Outstanding Collaboration Award at Sustainable Business Awards

Sparky, the world's first full-sized ship handling electric tug is the result of a six-year collaboration between Ports of Auckland and Dutch company Damen Shipyards.

Representatives from the port company and Damen celebrated the Sustainable Business Network (SBN) Award last night in Auckland.

For Allan D'Souza, "Sparky's dad" and GM Marine and Multi Cargo Operations at Ports of Auckland receiving the SBN award was especially significant.

"We are thrilled that our partnership has been recognised tonight. Progress in emissions free technology is rapidly improving, but it will take people partnering together, to really make change. When the port first pitched the idea for a fully electric tug, we were told we were dreaming. In 2019 Damen partnered with us and today Sparky is moving cargo and cruise ships in and out of the Waitematā without emissions" says D'Souza. 

"We'd usually visit the shipyards regularly during a vessel build, especially one so innovative, but this time due to COVID-19 we were restricted in travel and had to manage the project with online meetings across three very different time-zones. This required a huge level of trust and collaboration" he says.

Sparky was recently named in TIME's Best Inventions list and won Tug of the Year at the 2022 International Tug and Salvage Awards.

You can spot Sparky on Auckland's Waitematā Harbour as she is painted bright green. What you won't notice is emissions.  ​