Italian pilot boat prototype aims to improve transfer safety

The prototype of a new pilot boat designed to guarantee the highest level of safety has been presented in Salerno, Italy.

The unit, named Alè, was built by Agromare Shipyard and features a deck specifically designed to reduce the risk of injury to pilots during transfers.

The concept came from CLC Fancesco Aiello, a pilot in the ports of Gaeta and Formia for over twenty years. Alè has been presented in Panama, Seoul, Lisbon and at the recent 24th edition of IMPA, the World Congress of Pilots, held in Dakar.

The main innovation, compared to other models of of pilot boat currently in use, comprises four protruding platforms, each 60cm wide, on both sides of the vessel and at the bow and stern.

Forming a single body with the deck, they create two recesses: one wider, along the sides, the other, smaller, in the bow area.

A series of hydrodynamic studies conducted in collaboration with University Federico II of Naples confirmed that this results in zones of improved stability during the delicate phase of approaching the ship with the pilot boat.

“In this way,” said Aiello, “greater freedom of movement is guaranteed during transfer operations in the event that the alignment between the pilot and the ship occurs in critical weather and sea conditions.”

The unit is based on a proven Agromare hull of 11.95 metres (11.04 to the waterline). Alè is powered by a pair of 260kW diesel engines.

Giovanni Grande

Giovanni is Baird Maritime's correspondent in Naples