VESSEL REVIEW | MPA Guardian – Hybrid patrol boat enters service with Singapore port authority

Best Catamaran Patrol Craft – MPA Guardian (Photo: BMT)
Best Catamaran Patrol Craft – MPA Guardian (Photo: BMT)

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) recently commissioned a new hybrid diesel-electric patrol and emergency response craft into service.

MPA Guardian has improved endurance compared to the earlier vessels in the MPA patrol fleet. The boat was developed as a collaboration between the Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA) of the Singapore Ministry of Defence, local builder Penguin Shipyard International, and UK-based naval architecture firm BMT.

The aluminium catamaran has a length of 34 metres and accommodations for 24 crew and other personnel. It is equipped for shallow-water rescues, firefighting, drone deployment, salvage support, and oil spill response and containment in nearly all weather conditions. It will also be used as a command and control platform during emergency response operations.

The vessel has spacious fore and aft decks for transporting an assortment of light cargo. One deck also has space for a seven-metre rigid inflatable boat (RIB) and a dedicated launch and recovery system (LARS). Two firefighting monitors are fitted on either side of the fore deck.

<em>Photo: DSTA</em>
Photo: DSTA

A catamaran design was chosen for MPA Guardian to ensure that the vessel had a wide beam – and therefore a larger deck area – relative to its length. DSTA said the expanded deck structure also provides improved stability, which is essential for operation at higher sea states.

The hybrid propulsion system can be operated in either full electric, diesel-electric, or diesel-mechanical mode. Fully electric sailings at six knots, which can be done for a maximum of three hours, will yield significantly reduced emissions and noise, making the vessel ideal for operation in port waters. In diesel-electric mode, one main engine will be used to recharge the batteries while the other will supply power to both propellers.

Diesel-mechanical operation will meanwhile enable the catamaran to reach its rated top speed of just under 27 knots. To further improve efficiency, the vessel's hull form and propeller size were also remodelled and optimised to reduce fuel consumption during operations. In addition, LED lighting is fitted to ensure lower energy consumption. Low solar absorption paint was used on the external surfaces to reflect heat from the vessel while an anti-fouling system is fitted to prevent marine growth and hull impediments.

The vessel's electronics suite includes mast-mounted 360-degree cameras to help improve the crew's situational awareness.

The MPA said MPA Guardian will also be used as a testbed for trialling new technologies and equipment.

MPA Guardian
Type of vessel:Patrol boat
Owner:Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore
Designer:BMT, UK; Defence Science and Technology Agency, Singapore
Builder:Penguin Shipyard International, Singapore
Hull construction material:Aluminium
Length overall:34 metres
Main engines:2
Propulsion:2 x propellers
Maximum speed:27 knots
Other equipment installed:Launch and recovery system
Interior lighting:LED
External lighting:LED
Firefighting equipment:2 x monitors
Type of fuel:Diesel
Operational area:Singapore

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Baird Maritime / Work Boat World