FEATURE | Tourist dive boat takes shape at Thailand’s Seacrest

The new vessel in the building hall

Seacrest Marine’s Managing Director Tavipol Hemangkorn receives guest in a board room decorated with models of large crew boats, ASD tugs and a range of other vessels that his firm has built. Located just outside the mouth of the Chao Phraya River at Samutprakarn, Thailand the yard’s three marine ways can launch vessels directly into the deeper waters of the Gulf of Thailand.

Managing Director Tavipol Hemangkorn on right, also Australian Project Manager with design coordinator Khun Ah (standing) and draftsman Khun Chai at computer

They can accommodate vessels up to a 22-metre beam and up to 2,500 tonnes. Outside the company offices an older steel buoy tender is in for general repairs while next to it a spanking new aluminium crew boat awaits delivery to her owners.

Inside one of Seacrest’s weather-protected double building halls the hull and superstructure of a sleek 52- by 7.8-metre tourist dive boat is taking shape. When completed later this year, it will have accommodation for a crew of 24 who will crew the ship and support the 18 passengers. A pair of Cummins KTA50-M2 diesels, each rated for 1,400 kW at 1,950 rpm, power the vessel in a medium continuous duty rating. The engines turn conventional propellers through ZF gears to give a design speed of 20 knots.

This is a sophisticated vessel, as dive boats require compressors and other equipment to support the divers as well as the comfort level suitable for tourists. In a fabrication shop, Khum Tavipol points out the efficiency of the piping work that involved minimal welds and virtually no wastage of pipe.

A 3D rendering of Seacrest’s new dive-support vessel

Such precise engineering and fabrication is the result of Seacrest’s elaborate and extensive design room where a dozen or more designers and draftsmen work at computers. The total vessel design, as well as each individual component, is represented in three-dimensional renderings. Project Manager Steve Tyler explains that this allows precise representation of details, such as engine room piping, to be drawn and set in place prior to fabrication.

Alan Haig-Brown

Alan Roderick Haig-Brown is a Canadian novelist and non-fiction writer. He specialises in commercial marine and commercial fishing writing and photography. He is a regular contributor to a number of marine publications.