The busy Strait of Messina which separates the island of Sicily from the Italian mainland is now home to a new pilot boat, manufactured by Bellcraft, based in Viareggio, in Italy’s north-western Province of Lucca.
The Bellcraft Work 12, commissioned by the Guild of Messina Strait Pilots, was officially welcomed in Sicily last week. The pilot boat, powered by twin Volvo Penta IPS450 and matched to two six-litre engines, will flank up to 13,000 ships per year in the busy sea channel.
The Bellcraft Work 12 will operate at an average of 16 knots, and will flank ships in the Strait of Messina. The pilot will board the ships and help the captain navigate through the strait, and then disembark to return to the pilot boat. The delicate operation requires precision manoeuvring and excellent engine responsiveness of the pilot boat at all times, to flank ships safely.
Alex Baird is the Managing Director of Baird Maritime