BUILT, owned and operated by Singapore-based Penguin Shipyard International, Penguin Tenaga is a 15-metre, 12-passenger aluminium pilot boat capable of entirely running in electric mode at five knots for more than 30 minutes, and in conventional diesel mode can reach a maximum speed of 24 knots.

The vessel, which was recently certified and classed by Bureau Veritas, is based on the same hull form as two of Penguin’s existing monohull pilot boats that are currently operating for Shell Eastern Petroleum in Singapore.

Penguin Tenaga is classed under BV with the notation Electric Hybrid and Zero Emission mode. This notation provides operational and environmental benefits. It helps to ensure the systems operate safely and efficiently, as well as reduce fuel consumption, local air emissions and noise when in proximity to centers of population.

BV assisted Penguin by providing guidance on the BV rules and advice to Sea Forrest Power Solutions Pte Ltd (a subsidiary of BH Global Corporation Limited) towards certification of the equipment onboard, such as the hybrid electric propulsion systems installed on the vessel.

In addition, solar panels installed on the roof of Penguin Tenaga provide electrical energy that is used to recharge mobile devices on board and supplement the vessel’s “hotel load”.


Singapore, one of the world’s largest and busiest ports, has pledged to reduce greenhouse emissions by 36% by 2030, when compared to 2005 levels. It is taking a lead in developing hybrid-electric propulsion technology for offshore support and harbor vessels.

Currently, there are limited applications for pure electric vessels in Singapore due to the lack of charging infrastructure. However, this could change in coming years as the country electrifies its maritime eco-system to meet the IMO sustainability targets as well as its own sustainability goals.

BV has also created comprehensive guidelines and rules to help the shipowners and builders move towards sustainability powered vessels.

James Tham, Penguin’s managing director, said, “In the early days, when we were still in the conceptual phase of this hybrid project, we were faced with many variables and uncertainties.

“However, one thing that we were certain about was the choice of Bureau Veritas as our classification partner.

Bureau Veritas’ Singapore team brought to this project their valuable know-how and expertise in hybrid-powered ships,” he said.