Following a rigorous international selection process, the Port of Milford Haven has commissioned Next Generation (NG) Shipyards from the Netherlands to build a new 22-metre pilot boat to supplement its existing fleet.

The contract marks the first stage of a long-term, multi-million pound investment programme that aims to enhance the Port’s pilotage capability and deliver world class pilotage operations at the UK’s leading energy port.

NG Shipyards has extensive experience in building highly sophisticated pilot vessels and crew transfer vessels, both from its own designs and from the designs of others. The vessel selected by the Port of Milford Haven will be designed by Camarc Design Ltd, which specialises in the design of innovative, all-weather, high-speed working craft.

Also read: NIOZ and Next Generation Shipyards sign contract for research vessel Adriaen Coenen

Double chine hull and self-righting

Safety is the Port’s highest priority, so a rigorous assessment of the international market was undertaken as part of the procurement process, as well as collaboration with other ports and harbours that undertake similar operations. Key features of the new pilot vessel include: a double chine hull, self-righting design, which comes with a proven track record of operating safely and efficiently in heavy weather conditions; and an ergonomically designed wheelhouse and crew facilities, which will provide the highest safety and operational standards in the industry.

With sustainability also high on the Port’s agenda, whilst it will have the ability to operate at speeds of more than 25 knots fully loaded, the vessel will incorporate waterjet propulsion and an IMO Tier 3 rated engine and exhaust package to help reduce and control emissions. And, as part of its decarbonisation pathway, the Port is actively exploring alternative fuel solutions, which would dramatically reduce emissions as we seek to reach Net Zero well ahead of 2050.

Also read: Next Generation Shipyards to build Amsterdam’s new hydrogen-powered pilot vessel Neo Orbis

Delivery in 2025

‘Around twenty percent of the UK’s energy needs are handled or processed by the energy facilities within the Port of Milford Haven, which means our ability to move ships in and out of the port in a safe, reliable, and timely manner, with proper regard to the environment is vital; not only to our business, but to the resilience and security of UK energy,’ says Mike Ryan, harbourmaster at the Port of Milford Haven.

NG Shipyards will start construction of the pilot boat next year. The new pilot transfer vessel is expected to be in service in 2025 and further investments in the Port’s fleet will be made over the next few years.

Picture: L to R – Steven Bonder (NGS), Jamie Furlong (MHPA), Albert Keizer, Dirk Keizer (NGS), Ian Shipperly, Chris Martin, Tom Sawyer, Gareth Phillips (MHPA), Steven Lee (BMT), Mike Ryan, Luke Mason (MHPA).

Also read: Coastwise and NG Shipyards to build second Monomaran