It had been more than 20 years since a new pilot boat has been deployed in South Australia.
But in 2015 Flinders Ports reversed that trend implementing stage one of our fleet replacement strategy, by launching two new pilot vessels in less than six months. In a tribute to Matthew Flinders, the new boats which are called the Alert and the Reliance were named after two of the vessels that the legendary navigator served on.
Before Flinders Ports placed orders for the new pilot boats, the group’s marine operations division conducted extensive stakeholder consultation. Independent naval architects, Naval Architecture and Marine Solutions (NMS) were engaged to assist with the entire process from the specifications and competitive tender, right through to sea trials.
Selected for safety
Both boats were built by Australian boat builder Hart Marine at a cost of $2.5 million each and have identical specifications. Safety was identified as a key selection criterion and the new boats benefit from a range of modern safety features. An innovative beak-bow design provides enhanced sea handling characteristics, reducing stress and fatigue for the crew from the pitching and rolling of the vessel in rough waters. The modern vessels also feature the latest generation of marine I.T. software including Forward Looking Infra-Red (FLIR), which assists the crew when working in the dark, in poor visibility, or during search and rescue operations. In the event of a capsize, the self-righting mechanism is a vital safety measure that will safeguard the crew.
The Alert was first to arrive in Port Adelaide and was launched in May 2015, with the Reliance following five months later in October.
Capable of reaching top speeds of 27 knots, the vessels are 16 metres long, have an overall beam of 15.43 metres and are constructed to NSCV criteria with a 2C classification. The boats’ maximum draft of 1.5 metres offers the agility and manoeuvrability to deliver a highly responsive service for our valued shipping clients.
Pictured: The Alert on her launch day at Port Adelaide
The Norfolk and Providence, which are identical to the Alert and Reliance, were launched in May 2018 at Outer Harbor of Port Adelaide.
Flinders Ports Pilot vessel fleet now includes four of the new Hart Marine Pilot Vessels that are providing essential services to our Ports.