South Australian port operator Flinders Ports (FP) has entered into an agreement to purchase three new pilot vessels over the next three years from Melbourne-based boatbuilder Hart Marine.
The boats will feature improved technology to reduce fuel usage and to become future-ready for alternative fuel types as well as fuel cell technologies. This will be achieved through a change in engine and driveline and in future- proofing the hull design to reduce drag.
FP is also working with Hart Marine to improve safety measures, which include a Hart Marine-certified self-righting capability, and a change in pilot vessel hull length from 15.3 metres to 17.3 metres provide FP pilots and crew with additional room on the outer deck for pilot transfer and coxswain activities. The larger size vessel will allow for fuel cell technology to be retrofitted.
The boats’ Volvo Penta engines will also allow for the introduction of biofuels. Once the best mix or product has been determined and is available for use, FP hopes to see a potential carbon reduction of up to 90 per cent.