Offshore support vessels have a demanding life, and none more so than the pilot boats which transport crews between ship and shore. Travelling at high speeds in often jarring sea states, these vessels are expected to combine an exceptional standard of safety with similarly pronounced levels of structural strength and ride comfort.
With a fleet of around 400 boats, respected international marine solutions provider, P&O Maritime Logistics, contracts support vessels to clients in the offshore energy, cargo transport and port services sectors. A key contributor to P&O Maritime’s success is the Dutch boatbuilding company Tideman Boats, which has supplied the former with several vessels in recent years.
Optimal Awareness in Difficult Circumstances
The P&O Maritime fleet has just been bolstered with one of Tideman’s radical HDPE pilot boats, destined for 24/7 offshore deployment from a base in Maputo, Mozambique. The ‘indestructible’ pilot boat will be working under very difficult circumstances so a state-of-the-art Raymarine electronics fit-out will be at the forefront of providing enhanced crew safety, failsafe communications and optimal situational awareness required for such operations. At the heart of the new pilot boat’s electronics are two Raymarine Axiom touch-screen multifunction navigation display units, an Axiom 12 and an Axiom 9, which are prized for their customisable home screens powered by Raymarine’s LightHouse 3 operating software. The rapid quad-core processor and built-in RealVision 3D sonar, connected directly to the Axiom MFDs via a Raymarine RV-300 through-hull transducer, gives an enhanced view of what is beneath and around the vessel.
Bruno Tideman of Tideman Boats said, “Most of our boats are delivered with Raymarine equipment as standard. “The reasons for this are very simple. We know that if we install a Raymarine product it will work, and we also know that there is strong global support. Ninety-five percent of our vessels are shipped outside the Netherlands, so they don’t stay within our service area. Raymarine’s international support network means that we can rely upon their local service capabilities, wherever in the world our boats might be. We only work with global brands.” “We always opt for the Axiom touch-screens with our closed boats,” Bruno says, “whereas we’ll specify Raymarine’s Element MFDs for our open boats, because the latter’s push-button interface is better suited to applications in which they are constantly exposed to the elements.”
The pilot boat is also fitted with Raymarine’s Quantum 2 CHIRP radar, an indispensable navigational aid as its Doppler target-processing technology can quickly identify and colour-code moving objects in busy sea areas where there is a great deal of vessel traffic, thereby mitigating the risk of collision. Crew safety is further improved with the presence on board of a Raymarine AIS700 Class B AIS transceiver, which both receives AIS broadcasts from other vessels in the vicinity and, in turn, transmits the pilot boat’s own identification and situational data. The electronics outfit is completed with two Raymarine Ray53 VHF radios, favoured by Tideman for combining compact dimensions with safety features such as a built-in GPS receiver and Digital Selective Calling capabilities, a key element of GMDSS (the Global Maritime Distress Safety System). “The flexibility of Raymarine’s products and services is very important to us,” Bruno concludes. “Whatever a client’s specification requirements might be, we know that Raymarine electronics will meet those needs and readily integrate with onboard systems, while their comprehensive global support network means that a local Raymarine engineer can be called upon if necessary to modify any components and make everything compatible.”