VESSEL REVIEW | Willfreedom – Irish-built pilot launch delivered to UK’s Williams Shipping

Best Self-Righting Pilot Boat – Willfreedom (Photo: Safehaven Marine)
Best Self-Righting Pilot Boat – Willfreedom (Photo: Safehaven Marine)

Safehaven Marine of Ireland recently delivered a new pilot boat to Williams Shipping based in Southampton, UK. Named Willfreedom, the new boat joins two other vessels in the Williams Shipping fleet in providing crew transfer and pilot transfer services in the Solent for the larger ships entering the ports of Southampton and Portsmouth.

The newbuild has an LOA of 14.9 metres, a beam of 4.4 metres, and a draught of 1.32 metres. A maximum of 12 passengers can be accommodated in addition to the crew of two.

<em>Photo: Safehaven Marine</em>
Photo: Safehaven Marine

The boat utilises a central helm position for optimal vessel control. Upward-facing windows provide the coxswain improved situational awareness when manoeuvring alongside larger ships. Handrails are mounted directly onto the wheelhouse exterior rather than on the deck perimeter to allow for greater operational flexibility during transfers to and from other vessels.

Grammer shock mitigation seating ensures crew and passenger comfort.

The boat is powered by two Scania DI13 372kW engines that drive four-blade, fixed-pitch propellers via ZF 400 gearboxes to deliver an operational speed of 25 knots and a cruising speed of 20 knots. Philip Williams, Managing Director for Marine at Williams Shipping, said the boat can be reconfigured to accommodate a hybrid propulsion system or any other alternative power source in the future.

<em>Photo: Safehaven Marine</em>
Photo: Safehaven Marine

The boat is fully climate controlled with a 27,000btu air conditioner and fitted with a 7kw AC generator. It also provides full liveaboard facilities in a spacious lower forward cabin, allowing for extended operations.

A Paguro generator with a rated output of 6.5 kW at 1,500 rpm supplies power for the onboard systems including a radar, a sonar, a GPS, an AIS, and displays from Raymarine, Icom fixed and handheld VHF radios, a Teledyne FLIR M332 rotating thermal camera, and a Seematz searchlight. The vessel also incorporates all of Safehaven's usual pilot boat features including a special polyurethane bonded fendering system to fully protect the hull during boarding operations in heavy weather and a man overboard recovery platform.

<em>Photo: Safehaven Marine</em>
Photo: Safehaven Marine

Willfreedom was built in compliance to MCA rules, specifically Workboat Code Category 2 for operating 60 nautical miles with up to 10 passengers and Category 2 Pilot Boat rules.

Type of vessel:Pilot boat
Port of registry:Southampton, UK
Owner:Williams Shipping, UK
Builder:Safehaven Marine, Ireland
Length overall:14.9 metres
Beam:4.4 metres
Draught:1.32 metres
Main engines:2 x Scania DI13, each 372 kW
Gearboxes:2 x ZF 400
Propulsion:2 x fixed-pitch propellers
Generator:7.0 kW
Maximum speed:25 knots
Cruising speed:20 knots
Radios:Icom VHF
Night vision:Teledyne FLIR M332
Other electronics:Raymarine displays
Other equipment installed:Air conditioner
Safety equipment:MOB recovery platform
Operational area:Southampton, UK

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