VESSEL REVIEW | Sentinel – New customs patrol boat to operate in Gibraltar waters

Photo: Damen

HM Customs Gibraltar commissioned a new bespoke interceptor boat into service earlier this year.

The FRP-hulled HMC Sentinel was built by the Damen Shipyards Group as the prototype example of a new interceptor series. The design is optimised for high speed necessary in security and law enforcement missions, particularly rapid response, surveillance, anti-smuggling, and anti-terrorism operations.

Design work on Sentinel was carried out by Damen in close collaboration with the customer, which requested key features and specific performance parameters to enable it to effectively perform the interceptor role. The design process lasted three years while the actual construction took place at Damen Shipyards Antalya in Turkey.

The new HM Customs Gibraltar boat has an LOA of 14.5 metres, a beam of 3.5 metres, and a maximum draught of 1.3 metres. Damen claims the FRP construction requires almost no maintenance and that the onboard systems are fairly straightforward, making them easily accessible when maintenance and inspections are conducted. The hull shape has a deep-V bottom without steps to ensure improved seakeeping and manoeuvrability, while the use of composite material guarantees lightweight construction and better handling at higher operating speeds. The fendering consists of foam covered with resilient elastomer.

Photo: Official Twitter account of Fabian Picardo, Chief Minister of Gibraltar

A quartet of Mercury Verado 400 R petrol outboard engines deliver a maximum speed of 62.5 knots. Cruising at 40 knots will enable the boat to cover approximately 160 nautical miles. The outboards can be easily replaced, and maintenance can be performed on one set of engines even while the boat is operating with another set.

The vessel can also accommodate five crewmembers and up to 12 passengers as well as a stretcher for the secondary medical evacuation role. Save for the stretcher-bound patient, all occupants are seated on Ullman Atlantic Shock seats that help minimise fatigue during sustained fast transits. The accommodation spaces have air conditioning and a fixed aerosol fire suppression system. Facilities include a galley and a toilet.

The boat’s navigation and communication electronics consist of a magnetic compass, an X-band radar, a chart plotter, a GPS, an echosounder, a loudhailer, a VHF radio, and fixed and portable searchlights. An intercom system is also installed for use by the crew and six additional personnel.

Both the Gibraltar government and Damen claimed the new interceptor is one of the largest vessels ever commissioned by HM Customs Gibraltar for deployment in the overseas territory as well as one of the fastest vessels currently in operation in the bay of Gibraltar.

Click here for more news stories, feature articles, and vessel reviews as part of this month’s focus on maritime security vessels.

Type of vessel:Interceptor boat
Owner:HM Customs Gibraltar
Operator:HM Customs Gibraltar
Designer:Damen Shipyards Group, Netherlands
Builder:Damen Shipyards Antalya, Turkey
Hull construction material:FRP
Superstructure construction material:FRP
Length overall:14.5 metres
Beam:3.5 metres
Draught:1.3 metres
Depth:1.9 metres
Main engines:4 x Mercury Verado 400 R outboards
Maximum speed:62.5 knots
Cruising speed:40 knots
Range:160 nautical miles
Anchor:Fortress FX-37
Fendering:Foam; elastomer
Seating:Ullman Atlantic Shock
Firefighting equipment:Fixed aerosol system
Type of fuel:Petrol
Fuel capacity:1,200 litres
Freshwater capacity:60 litres
Accommodation:Galley; toilet
Operational area:Gibraltar

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