Kvichak delivers Griffon hovercraft
Kvichak Marine Industries of Seattle, WA, together with Griffon Hovercraft, recently delivered a Griffon 2000TD hovercraft to Crowley Marine Services Inc. Crowley will operate the hovercraft, Arctic Hawk, on the North Slope of Alaska for British Petroleum.
After an extensive evaluation of hovercraft, including a demonstration project on site in Alaska, Crowley and BP determined the 20-seat 2000TD was the ideal craft for their operation. To satisfy the U.S. domestic build requirements, Griffon Hovercraft Ltd., located in the UK, worked with their U.S. sales agent, Griffon Hovercraft-USA to visit and evaluate several shipyards to award the construction contract. Kvichak Marine was chosen and licensed to construct the 2000TD for Crowley and remains the licensed builder for Griffon hovercrafts operated in the United States.
Griffon Hovercraft, USA operates from its offices in Stamford and Hamden, Connecticut and is the sole representative for the sales and marketing of Griffon Hovercraft manufactured in the United States.
Working in one of the most inhospitable climates and under some of the most testing conditions in the world, the Arctic Hawk is used as a logistics vessel carrying personnel, goods and equipment to Northstar Island, a man-made offshore production island, in Prudhoe Bay. The journey from the mainland base to the island is roughly six nautical miles and the sea is frozen for approximately nine months during the year. Currently BP employs helicopters, crew boats, haglands, CATCO rollagons, barges and ice roads to access Northstar Island through all seasons. The hovercraft is seen as having the potential to cover all of the seasons and eventually replace the expense of having multiple modes of transportation.
Powered by a Deutz BF8L513LC engine rated for 355hp @ 2100rpms, the Arctic Hawk is able to make several trips per day with the ~35 knot speed it achieves. The 42' x 20' craft also features a Hoffman controllable-pitch reversing propeller with wide chord blades and low tip speeds to reduce operating noise.
The hull of the craft is constructed of marine grade aluminium with full-length skids and replaceable rubber wear surfaces to allow landing on unmade beaches and rough ground. The skirt is an open loop and segment type. All of the skirt components are accessible and changeable from outside, on land, without having to jack the craft.
"With the introduction of this unique form of fast amphibious transportation into Alaska, Kvichak Marine sees the opportunities for Griffon hovercraft to operate over many other areas of ice, shallow water, mud, swamps and rapids throughout the Unites States," said Craig Miller, Kvichak's project manager. "We are proud this hovercraft has been approved by the Coast Guard for Subchapter 'T' passenger service."