Western Cape Business News

Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  15 Jul 2009

MARINE: Veecraft's Pilot Boats


Recent Western Cape Business News

VEECRAFT Marine last month launched two 27-meter pilot boats in Cape Town for use at the Port of Durban.

Veecraft Marine, now based in Paarden Eiland, was awarded the contract after a tender process to build these two steel pilot boats with aluminium wheelhouses.

A proven hull design was used from Peter Volschenk of Naval Africa with facility design input from Veecraft’s directors Andre van Niekerk and Edmund Erasmus. Erasmus was project manager for the contract. The build time was ten months.

The company employed six BEE sub-contractors for the various sectors of the build and locally produced steel and aluminium were used for production.

Pilot boats are specially designed with one purpose in mind - to get harbour pilots out to visiting vessels, which require safe passage in and out of the harbour.

They need to be able to handle rough seas, as they will need to deliver pilots to vessels about 6km offshore. A vessel tracking system will determine this point of delivering the pilot.

The pilots normally disembark soon after clearing the harbour and after giving the ship’s captain advice for proceeding.

These vessels have a relatively narrow beam of 6-meters overall. This includes the fender system, which allows the pilot boat to safely manoeuvre alongside large vessels so that the pilots can transfer to and from the larger vessel via rope ladder. At times they will have a step system. There is a gap in the fenders along the gunnels so that the rope ladder will not get stuck in the fendering.

Each vessel has a crew of up to six. The vessels have twelve lockers, one water closet, one shower, a galley and a mess room. There is a cabin for the captain and one for the engineer.

Lufafa and Jojosi are powered by 522Kw Cummins propulsion engines giving them a top speed of 14 knots. They also have Cummins generators. They weigh in at 115 tons at full load capacity.

The vessels are currently undergoing harbour and sea trials before they are dispatched to Durban by road.


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