Awards 2022 | Best Remote Area Pilot Boat – RUBANI 1 – Southerly Designs

published on 13 March 2023 80 -

Picture and original article by BAIRD Maritime

Southerly Designs is renowned for its safe, rugged and reliable pilot vessels that were originally developed from the firm’s experience designing Western Australian lobster boats. Southerly’s pilot boats have proved ideal for operations in remote ports such as the huge West Australian iron ore ports.

With considerable experience of tropical operations, this flotilla of pilot boats for Dar es Salaam and other ports in Tanzania will be right at home.

“This series of three pilot boats represent a significant upgrade in vessel design and capability in the East Africa region,” Southerly told Baird Maritime. “They are also our first pilot boat newbuilding projects wherein steel was used in the construction.”

Steel was chosen as it provides better stability in the choppy seas of the region where the boats will operate.

The design and construction encountered challenges. For Southerly, it was working in the East Africa region, where considerable forward planning became necessary due to the limited availability of material and equipment.

For the builder, Covid-19 restrictions required the scaling-down of construction activities that commenced just as the pandemic was first felt locally. Fortunately, Southerly was able to help overcome this limitation through clear, unambiguous communication with clients.

“The biggest current trend is the growing demand for low-emission and alternative propulsion arrangements,” Southerly told Baird Maritime when asked about the present state of the naval architecture sector. “There is considerable enthusiasm in the market for all manner of green solutions. However, it is still a significant challenge to specify suitable practical solutions for high-speed vessels.
The designer cited issues such as large battery sizes, impractical storage arrangements for LNG and other fuels, insufficient energy density for small fast vessels, and limitations in the advantages offered by diesel-electric propulsion.

“However, we continue to explore new technology as well as creative approaches to emissions reduction wherever we can.”

Even with these issues, 2022 proved to be a good year for Southerly across multiple sectors.

“We are certainly optimistic about the future and continue to pursue a diversity of vessel types and industry sectors in order to ride out the inevitable cyclical nature of shipbuilding.”

Southerly added that demand for pilot boats globally remains consistent. In fact, following the launch of the three pilot boats for Tanzania, the company has had two additional smaller, steel-hulled vessels launched in the UAE and three aluminium vessels on order back home in Australia. OHS considerations continue to become a greater focus in pilotage operations, leading to the modernisation of older vessels and upgrades in terms of vessel size, comfort, and solutions for ship-to-ship transfers.

“The Australian workboat industry is quite variable across different sectors,” the company told Baird Maritime. “Oil and gas and offshore work continues to rely on older and converted vessels as it seems the contractual environment for owners and operators does not offer sufficient length or security of contracts to enable them to finance and supply new purpose-built vessels. However, new pilot vessels do seem to have sufficient security of contract or at least to enable new constructions, of which we have several under contract.”

The company added that fishing vessel construction in the country has slowed, particularly in the niche of lobster fishing vessels, but changing circumstances surrounding key markets may see some additional confidence return to this sector.

“We believe an adjustment of contracting arrangements in the offshore sector could bring forward a considerable increase in the quality and capability of vessels in that sector, whereas some government sectors could see increased efficiencies by standardising some of their vessels and ordering in quantity. Also, as with all sectors, advances in propulsion technology will continue to be at the forefront for many designs in the near future.”
What's your opinion on this?
Login or register to write comments and join the discussion!

Article Baltic Workboats' PILOT 15 WP has won a Small Pilot Boat Award for 2019

by - published on 29 January 2020

Baltic Workboats have won under the category of "Best Small Pilot Boat" the Best builder of a Small Pilot Boat Award for 2019 for their model PILOT 15 WP.


Article Three Pilot Boats for Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA)

by Southern Engineering Co. Ltd (SECO) - published on 18 March 2020

Southern Engineering Co. Ltd (SECO) recently secured a contract from the Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) to construct and deliver three pilot boats.


Video Look at Life - Sea Horses - Tugboats from the 1960s

published on 18 March 2021

The video is the latest Look at Life, Volume One - Transport called Sea Horses – Little Tugs, without which any big port would come to a standstill, are featured made in May 1962, UK.


Article Investigation report on the Kiel Canal lock collision of August 2020

published on 27 October 2022

The Federal Bureau of Maritime Casualty Investigation (BSU) hereby announces the publication of the Investigation Report No. 285/20 on 26 October 2022. The report deals with the contact of the multipurpose ship ELSE with a closed lockgate of the Kiel-Holtenau lock which occurred on 29 August 2020.


Article Pilot spots dolphins in Kopli Bay (Estonia)

by - published on 7 June 2020

Marine pilot Indrek Sülla (Eesti Loots) spotted dolphins in the waters of Kopli Bay, off the coast of Tallinn, a few days ago. This is a very special event in this region and so far north.


Article Greek Navy minehunting vessel cut in half during collision with Maersk Launceston

by - published on 30 October 2020

Ex-RN minehunter (former HMS Berkeley) serving with Greek navy as HS Kallisto cut in half during collision with Maersk containership, Maersk Launceston, a Portuguese-flagged container ship.


Video Maritime Safety Week - Pilot Training (UK)

published on 6 July 2021

At the Port of London Authority, an immersive pilot simulator is designed to continuously train and assess pilots to maintain quality and skills in the industry.


Article NAUTITEC takes over construction supervision of the Weener Bridge

published on 25 October 2021

Today, Nautitec took residence of their new offices at the construction site of the “Friesenbrücke” in Weener, the railway bridge which is connecting Weener to the Netherlands.


Video Norway Pilot Boat LOS 122

published on 25 October 2021


Video [4K] New Cranes Come to Baltimore, Maryland September 9, 2021

published on 15 September 2021

Heavy Load Carrier Zhen Hua 24
Assisted by tugs April Moran, Gramma Lee T Moran, Lynne Moran, pilot boat Fells Point.
Fireboat is John R. Frazier