Spill response vessel gets new role as pilot station

Written by Nick Blenkey
pilot station vessel

OSRV Maine Responder has been converted to a pilot station vessel for the Sandu Hook pilots

JMS Naval Architects, Mystic, Conn., reports that the former oil spill response vessel OSRV Maine Responder has been converted to a pilot station vessel for United New York & New Jersey Sandy Hook Pilots Association.

The conversion work, designed and engineered by JMS Naval Architects, was performed by Feeney Shipyard, Kingston, N.Y., and the vessel renamed P/B New York.

The Sandy Hook pilots operate a 24/7, 365 days a year operation on what is called “Pilot Station at Ambrose” located over 25 nautical miles east of the entrance of New York Harbor.

OSRV prior to conversion [Image: JMS]

JMS has a long history of providing engineering support for the Sandy Hook Pilots’ vessels and when the 208-foot OSRV Maine Responder became available, the pilots’ association turned to the firm to provide marine surveying and naval architecture services to:

  • evaluate the vessel prior to purchase,
  • develop the conversion concept design through contract-level design bid package,
  • give engineering support to the shipyard, and
  • provide owner’s representative services on behalf of Sandy Hook Pilots during the vessel conversion.

JMS’ work began by surveying the OSRV Maine Responder ahead of the vessel purchase to assess its general condition and suitability for being converted to a pilot station boat. A comparative seakeeping analysis was also performed to determine the OSRV’s motion characteristics while on station.

In general, the conversion design included extensive modifications to remove the oil recovery systems, add a large deck house for the pilot berthing, lounge, and mess, and incorporate operational capabilities specific to the pilots’ mission.

Other modifications included addition of:

  • Port Rescue Station with net recovery system;
  • Deck de-icing systems at Pilot Boarding Stations Port and Starboard;
  • Hot water/steam system for power washing to de-ice the pilot boats when alongside in winter;
  • New knuckle boom crane to service the Port and Starboard RIBs and load gear pier side;
  • Increase potable water capacity to 60,000 gallons;
  • Small boat fueling/transfer stations, port and starboard; and
  • Main deck and 01 deck (2-tier) deckhouse extension to encompass dedicated pilots berthing, mess, and lounge.

Pilot house modifications included addition of:

  • CCTV cameras to pilot boarding areas with screens on pilothouse port and starboard and in crew mess;
  • Two-way communication speakers from boarding area to the pilothouse port and starboard bridge wings;
  • Buzzer system for communication between the pilothouse and crew mess and the port and starboard boarding areas;
  • Floor to ceiling windows facing aft and down for viewing of pilot boarding station;
  • Relocating controls to bridge wing, steering, engine, VHF, gyro repeater, bow thruster, new 2-way talk back to boarding station; and
  • Side windows facing outboard, sliding/opening.

The completed vessel retains its helicopter pad, ABS Classification, and U.S. Coast Guard COI as a Subchapter I vessel.

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