June 5, 2007
Port of Spain pilots get fast RIB
Almar Boats,Tacoma, Washington, has recently delivered the third of three 43 ft RIBs to the Port of Spain, Trinidad, Pilots Association.
Over thirty pilots are employed to ensure the safety of the numerous tankers and freighters that call on Port of Spain and four nearby harbors.
The Port of Spain pilots chose Almar after inspecting other pilot craft the company has produced: two 35 footers for the Brunswick Pilots in Georgia, and a 42 footer for the Virginia Pilots on Chesapeake Bay.
The three Trinidad boats are based on the deep-V hull that Almar general manager Mike Sandeman recommends for service in rough water and offshore.
The angle at the bow entry (cutwater ) is 50 degrees, with 24 degrees at the transom, giving it an easy motion in big swells or a short chop in harbor. It can cruise comfortably in a seaway at 30 knots says Sandeman, who has ridden along with the pilots on the U.S. east coast and the Caribbean.
"I quickly learned from this experience the risks that the pilots routinely face boarding ships, and how much they depend on their boats to perform when coming alongside a fully-loaded ship making 12-15 knots," he says.
Almar has designed and built over 50 specialized RIBs since the early 90s and has gained invaluable experience in the design of the deep-V hull form.
Tube-attachment methods, chine shape and spray deflection are just three of the refined, tested features that Sandeman points to as significant on the pilots' boats. The inflatable tube is very effective at cushioning the shock as a pilot boat comes alongside a ship, and is soft enough to reduces the chance of injury should a pilot fall between the boat and the ship. Should a fall occur, the boat is equipped aft with a deployable Lifesling rescue device, and the pilot can be hoisted back onboard with a davit and manual winch.
The inflatable tubes must withstand the abrasion when alongside a ship and are reinforced by a heavy ribbed rubber laminate on the wear surfaces.
They are manufactured in two halves, joined at the bow, and attached to the hull with two widely-spaced flexible tabs. The upper tab is bolted through a flange on the gunwhale, the lower is fitted with a large-diameter bolt rope that is inserted in a grooved extrusion on the hull. This system allows the operator to easily replace a damaged tube.
The hull is welded from one quarter inch 5086 aluminum, the beam is 13 ft with tube inflated, the displacement is 22,000 lb.
Power comes from a pair of Caterpillar C9s each developing 505 HP at 2500 rpm, controlled by the ACERT system that meets Tier 2 requirements.. The engines turn Hamilton 322 waterjets via a ZF 305 1:1 transmission.
Maximum speed is 39.8 knots at 2500rpm.
Fuel tankage is 250 gallons.
The jets are steered by a Jastram hydraulic system from a center-line forward operator's helm.
The skipper has a full suite of navigational equipment at his fingertips, including Furuno's 1623 radar, GP7000F plotter-sounder, FM3000 VHFs, and Saab A4 AIS.
Almar has several other RIB projects up to 50 ft on the drawing board.
Almar is a division of North River Boats of Roseburg, Oregon