Sleek, smart, and fast, the aluminium/FRP composite Marell 15-metre interceptor is a very impressive, innovative, durable and practical craft.
Powered by four Mercury 335kW outboard motors, this light but very strong boat can accelerate very rapidly to a top speed of 70 knots. It can also operate at high speeds in rough conditions, up to Sea State six, without destroying itself or its crew.
Aided by an excellent hull shape, a suite of Ullman crew seats and FRP sandwich deck and canopy, it can operate efficiently and comfortably from the Arctic to the tropics. There is more than adequate provision for installing weaponry and electronics.
“This craft’s mission is to get straight on to target, at very high speed, in any sea condition, day or night,” Marell Boats explained to Baird Maritime. “To accomplish that, it needed to have a strong but lightweight torsion stiff aluminium hull with negative chines, slanted sides and negative lifting strakes parallel to the keel line. The hull is designed to handle sharp turns without losing its grip in the water. There is also no risk of side tripping , ventilation or broaching and during the very fast acceleration phase wherein it goes from zero to 50 knots in less than 11 seconds, the operator will never lose sight of the horizon.”
The boat also boasts impressive stability, and it utilises a common centre console layout that enables operators who have experience with other Marell boats to easily transition to this new craft. Further, the deck area can accommodate a small dinghy or cargo and there is cabin seating for up to 20 people.
Marell said its new 15-metre interceptor was developed in response to increasing operator demand for more energy-efficient vessels that will help ensure reduced fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. This is especially true among operators in the Baltic and North Seas, areas where the use of petrol-powered outboard engines is allowed over diesel-powered engines due to NOx. However, should operators decide to incorporate engines with even lower emissions levels, they may be pleased to know that the boat’s designers had anticipated that possibility.
“The existing lightweight hull may be configured to accommodate various propulsion arrangements, including battery-powered engines, and it is possible for the boat to achieve the same speed or carry the same load even with less engine power. This makes it ideal for low-speed operation such as surveillance and harbour patrols.”
The builder clarified that interception speed will remain at ideal levels even as operators switch to more environment-friendly fuel alternatives.
“We sold three examples of this series within months of its introduction in 2020,” Marell told Baird Maritime. “There were some variances in superstructure in each one, but they all use the same hull design that guarantees the same operating efficiency. Word got around and now we have enquiries for similar vessels from other operators worldwide, including as far away as South Africa and Indonesia.”
Fortunately, Marell had anticipated the increased orders early in 2020 and made the decision to relocate to a new yard with larger building halls and launching facilities. These will also be used for the manufacture of other products in its portfolio.
Marell has attributed this increase in orders to the steady growth of the worldwide maritime security sector.
“The market for border control, surveillance and interception vessels is growing, and operators are looking for fast, energy-saving hulls adopted for both low and high speed. There is also a growing demand for hybrid solutions consisting of electric motors for silent operation and conventionally-powered engines for ‘boost mode’ sailings and sustained high-speed operation.
“We also recognise the need for standardised layouts as operators would want to have their existing crews training on control setups they are already familiar with, to help reduce the need to hire additional personnel. We know that skilled crews are hard to come by, especially during this time, and so existing crews should be able to easily move from one type of vessel to another type in the same fleet.”
As Marell expects that more opportunities will be further provided by the maritime security sector, the company is exploring new technologies aimed at ensuring greater survivability for both vessels and their crews.
“Further development projects are looking into areas like stealth technology and higher survivability against high-speed threats. In our area we also have the possibility to test different equipment for both extreme heat and arctic chill conditions, both of which have an impact on ship design, to accommodate extreme climates. We know that Sweden will continue to be at the forefront of technological development for high-speed craft and so, many new innovations for next-generation marine platforms will be realised, in order to reduce lifecycle cost and increase operational capabilities in all sea conditions.”
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