French operator Seine River Pilot Station has expanded its fleet of pilot boats with the recent acquisition of a newbuild vessel from local builder Chantier Naval Delavergne.
Named Belcinac after an island that was once located in the Seine River, the new pilot boat was designed by Pierre Delion for operation between Rouen and the Seine Estuary, primarily in the inland waters just off Caudebec-en-Caux. This frees up the slightly larger Avocette, the Seine River Pilot Station’s other recently acquired Pierre Delion-designed boat, to focus on facilitating transfers in deeper harbour waters.
The 9.5- by four-metre, 7.2-tonne newbuild is of aluminium construction, the material having been selected due to the fact that the hulls of the pilot station’s boats are subject to collisions with tree trucks and other floating debris. Up to four people can be accommodated in the wheelhouse, which also boasts an electronics suite that includes a Furuno radar. The wheelhouse is fitted with upward-facing windows to enhance the coxswain’s situational awareness when manoeuvring alongside larger vessels before and after transfers.
Power is provided by a Volvo D6 283kW engine that drives a five-bladed propeller to deliver a speed of 23 knots.
Although smaller than some of the other boats in the Seine River Pilot Station, Belcinac is versatile enough to facilitate transfers even with large ships thanks to the installation of fixed port and starboard boarding ladders on the foredeck and on the exterior of the wheelhouse.