VESSEL REVIEW | SPN 23 – First in new series of harbour patrol boats for Belgian Federal Police

EMERGENCY SERVICES WEEK
Photo: MarineTraffic.com/Ghis v d Vijver

The Belgian Federal Police, the national police force of Belgium, recently took delivery of a new aluminium patrol boat built by Socarenam of France.

The first in a planned series of five boats, SPN 23 was designed by French naval architects Pierre Delion to be especially capable of navigating in both coastal and inland waters including the canals found in many Flemish cities. This will provide the federal police’s marine units with greater operational flexibility, as a smaller number of vessels will be adequate for carrying out river and sea patrols. Among other things, this will eliminate the need to acquire vessels that are designed exclusively for either deep-water or shallow-water operations.

SPN 23 will be homeported in Brussels but will be operated primarily in the waters of the Flemish port city of Ghent alongside the other vessels of the federal police. The boat has a length of 15.98 metres, a beam of 4.98 metres, and a draught of two metres. The shallow draught and a folding mast will allow it to safely sail underneath bridges and other low-hanging structures and features within its area of operations.

Photo: MarineTraffic.com/yves le rousseau

Two Volvo Penta DB-450 diesel engines that each produce 330 kW propel SPN 23 to a maximum speed of just over 16 knots. The power of the engines coupled with the compact size of the boat guarantee improved manoeuvrability, allowing tighter turns to be made even in the more restrictive inland and harbour waters in and around Ghent.

The boat’s total fuel tank capacity is 2,400 litres to ensure extended sailings. This will allow the federal police’s marine units to provide increased patrol coverage over a given period while retaining the same number of available vessels.

The wheelhouse is fitted with forward-angled windows to reduce glare as well as upward-facing windows for providing improved visibility for the crew when navigating near larger vessels. The wheelhouse electronics include a rotating thermal camera and a radar.

The cabin’s exterior meanwhile features safety handrails for use by the crew when walking across the deck or when transferring to and from other vessels during boardings and inspections. The railings are placed inboard to allow for greater freedom of movement on deck, as transfers can be made at any point instead of being limited to only the bow and the stern.

Photo: MarineTraffic.com/Patrick Roos

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

SPN 23
SPECIFICATIONS
Type of vessel:Patrol boat
Port of registry:Brussels, Belgium
Flag:Belgium
Owner:Belgian Federal Police
Designer:Pierre Delion, France
Builder:Socarenam, France
Hull construction material:Aluminium
Superstructure construction material:Aluminium
Length overall:15.98 metres
Beam:4.98 metres
Draught:2.0 metres
Main engines:2 x Volvo Penta DB-450, each 330 kW
Maximum speed:16 knots
Type of fuel:Diesel
Fuel capacity:2,400 litres
Operational area:Ghent, Belgium

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