JUNE 12, 2013 — Queensland, Australia, shipbuilder Marine Engineering Consultants (MEC) has started construction of a 24 m Incat Crowther designed 24 m long-range catamaran patrol vessel. The vessel will work in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area (GBRWHA). The GBRWHA is jointly managed by Queensland's Department of National Parks, Recreation, Sport and Racing (DNPRSR) and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA).
Incat Crowther says its experience in designing cost-effective, low environmental impact vessels and MEC's excellent build quality, value and support were pivotal in winning the tender for the vessel, which is scheduled to be launched in early 2014..
Incat Crowther submitted a concept design to the competitive tender, characterized by its consideration for its operational environment and by the application of several new technologies. Incat Crowther was selected as the preferred designer on the basis of a superior hull form underpinning a rugged, versatile, cost-effective package. The design concept was used as the basis of a competitive build tender, with the build contract being awarded to MEC.
Among its environmental features, the vessel has extensive solar panels, high R-value insulation, zoned air conditioning, as well as window blinds and shutters to reduce the impact of the Queensland sun.
The extensive solar array takes advantage of modern lithium-ion batteries to reduce the use of diesel generators both in operation and whilst at anchor at night. The batteries are charged during the day by solar power, allowing the vessel's diesel generators to remain shut down overnight. At these times, the battery bank will supply power for house loads, including air conditioning. In the event of increased demand, the generators will automatically start. Depending on the load case, they will either provide direct power, or charge the batteries. This reduces running costs and will dramatically reduce the cost of maintaining the generators. The cost effective nature of this configuration is further enhanced by the benefits of lithium ion batteries. These batteries are a quarter of the weight and can provide up to ten times the power and ten times the lifecycle of conventional lead acid batteries.
The vessel's aft deck houses a cradle for a 6 m RIB, which is capable of being launched and retrieved at speeds of up to 6 knots and in seas up to 3 m. Dive tank racks are provided, as are a pair of bench seats for dive preparation. The main deck cabin features a large wet room aft, with toilet, shower and laundry facilities. A large mess with seats for 15 is situated opposite a large galley. A large pantry adjoins the galley and houses provisions for long missions. Additional storage is provided in the bridging structure, accessed via removable floor panels. Forward of this is a second lounge area to starboard and a pair of computer workstations to port. There are two twin cabins forward with a bathroom, and doors to the side deck providing easy access around the vessel.
Aft of the wheelhouse, the upper deck features two twin cabins, a bathroom, power tools store and cold store. The aft upper deck is divided in to two distinct spaces. Aft is a 4.5m RIB with crane for launch and retrieval. This area also houses the vessel's cargo space, which is separated from the crew recreation space by cargo barriers. Forward of these barriers is an outdoor mess area with a barbecue.
An additional 8 crew are accommodated in twin cabins in the hulls. Storage capacity is provided aft for 1,500 liters of unleaded gasoline, for use on the RIBs.
Multiple drive train options were evaluated, with hybrid propulsion options at the forefront. Long term costs were taken into account, with the decision being to combine conventional diesels with supplementary solar panels and a highly-efficient hull form.
The vessel will be powered by a pair of Yanmar 6AYM-WGT engines, producing 670kW each. Capable of speeds up to 25 knots, the vessel is optimized for efficient cruising between 12 and 20 knots.
Length Overall: 23.99 m
Length Waterline: 24.79 m
Beam: 8.5 m
Draft Hull: 1.3 m
Draft Max: 1.9 m
Depth: 3.6 m
Fuel: 12,000 liters
Fresh Water: 4,000 liters
Sullage: 2,000 liters
Service Speed: 20 knots
Maximum Speed: 25 knots
Main Engines: 2 x Yanmar 6AYM-WGT
Installed Power: 2 x 670 kW
Propulsion: 2 x Propellers
Generators: 2 x Northern Lights M65C2
Construction Material: Marine Grade Aluminum
Class: USL/NSCV 2B(14 pax) 1C (28 pax)