Article

Shatt Al-Arab: Sri Lanka-built pilot station vessel to operate in Iraq


published on 20 June 2022 144 -

The General Company for Ports of Iraq (GCPI), a port operating company under the Iraqi Ministry of Transport, recently began operating a new catamaran pilot station vessel built by Colombo Dockyard (CDPLC) of Sri Lanka.

Shatt Al-Arab (“River of the Arabs”) is one of two newbuild vessels supplied by CDPLC to the same customer in fulfilment of a contract that also includes Toyota Tsusho Corporation (TTC) of Japan with loan funding provided by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). The delivery of Shatt Al-Arab and Al Faw, a buoy tender also built by CDPLC, is part of a multi-phase initiative of port and harbour rehabilitation and reconstruction projects being carried out in Iraq with the assistance of the Japanese government.

Under phase two of the rehabilitation, which involve renovations and maintenance of Iraq’s import-export base at the Persian Gulf port of Khor Al-Zubair, the buoy tender will deploy buoys necessary for the safe navigation of ships while the pilot station vessel will transport workers to offshore oil export facilities in the Gulf of Basra.

Shatt Al-Arab was designed by Singapore-based naval architects MTX Marine Design and Consultants in compliance to ClassNK rules. The vessel has a length of 52.4 metres, a beam of 18 metres, a depth of 6.1 metres, and fully air-conditioned accommodations for up to 47 people. CDPLC said that, as the vessel was built to be used in Middle East waters, special consideration has been made to select machinery and equipment capable of withstanding the harsh conditions encountered in its area of operations.

Two diesel engines propel the catamaran to a speed of 14 knots. The engines are fitted with an array of 19 copper nickel box coolers supplied by Weka Marine.

Shatt Al-Arab has already begun operating in Iraq. In addition to serving its main role as a pilot transfer vessel, it is also slated to provide accommodation services and logistical support for the pilot boats and crews that operate out of Khor Al-Zubair and the country’s other major Persian Gulf port at Umm Qasr.
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