AWARDS 2023 | Best Small Tourist Boat – Pearl of Siam – SeaCat Ships
This simple but well-appointed aluminium catamaran tourist cruise boat is emblematic of the work of SeaCat Ships.
Light, safe, economical, comfortable and seaworthy, it is also very attractive. It will operate around Koh Chang (Elephant Island), the very popular tourist area not far from where she was built.
Given its many successful predecessors, it is bound to do well.
“The vessel reflects our commitment to cutting-edge design, functionality, and environmental responsibility,” Paul Birgan, Director at SeaCat Ships, told Baird Maritime. “The vessel was originally built ‘on spec’ and then was purchased, then customised to suit the purchaser’s needs.”
Some of the features incorporated include inboard diesel engines with surface drives to deliver enhanced performance in coastal waters, a custom aluminium VIP main cabin with bar combined with an aft deck barbecue grill, an aft folding dive platform ensuring easy access to the water, an upper al fresco lounge that doubles as a disco room, an aft upper deck davit for use with a paddleboard and motorised surfboards, and a large hardtop customised to fit solar panels to provide electricity for the entire vessel.
“The most challenging issue we faced was the one relating to the control systems of the engines and gearboxes and the loads of the surface drives at varying revolution ranges, especially considering the engines were of a brand new model. From intricate design considerations to logistical aspects, these experiences have enhanced our capabilities and refined our approach to future projects.”
Birgan added that current trends and regulations impacting shipbuilding are predominantly centred around environmental sustainability. Stricter emission standards, fuel efficiency requirements, and the integration of green technologies are the key factors that are influencing the industry – staying compliant and proactively adopting eco-friendly solutions are integral parts of SeaCat Ships’ strategy.
“The year 2023 has been marked by notable successes for the company. Business is thriving, and we’ve experienced positive growth compared to previous years. The industry’s resilience and adaptability in challenging times make us optimistic about the future and what’s to come.”
Birgan said he foresees that, over the next few years, the marine tourism industry will be embracing sustainable practices and technology integration.
“I think we will see a lot of advances in eco-friendly propulsion systems and digital experiences, which will likely shape the sector, offering unique and environmentally conscious offerings,” he told Baird Maritime. “[For Pearl of Siam] diesel drive is possible with renewable raw materials such as palm oil methyl ester, a form of biodiesel.”
Pearl of Siam’s owner Thomas Sack, a German environmental entrepreneur in Thailand, acted as the adviser for the technical equipment.
As for the Thai and South-East Asian workboat industries, Birgan said both are poised for growth. There is therefore anticipation for increasing demand for versatile vessels, compliance with environmental standards, and adoption of smart technologies.
“Our business plan at SeaCat Ships includes a focus on innovation to accommodate these shifts and to keep pace with the rest of the industry.”