VESSEL REVIEW | Thor – Multi-role newbuild enters service with Lucerne Fire Brigade

EMERGENCY SERVICES WEEK

Finnish boat builter Kewatec AluBoat has handed over a new fire and rescue launch to the city of Lucerne in Switzerland.

Utilising a proven workboat design that was originally developed by Finnish builder Weldmec Marine prior to its merger with Kewatec in 2020, the aluminium-hulled Thor will replace the 28-year-old response boat Donner in the fleet of the Lucerne Fire Brigade. The older vessel will remain in service with the fire brigade until October 2021, the expected date when crews complete undergoing training on the replacement boat.

Kewatec said the new boat was built to have a service life of around 25 years even with minimal maintenance. The construction therefore utilises longitudinal struts and transverse bulkheads and web frames for improved durability even with regular heavy use. Also, because of the use of marine-grade aluminium for the hull, the vessel is light enough to be highly responsive to the operator’s control input, making it an ideal platform for quick deployment to incidents along the waterways in and around Central Switzerland’s most populous city.

The hull was also designed to be strong enough to enable the craft to easily sail through thin surface ice under mild winter conditions.

Thor measures 13.9 by 4.05 metres and is powered by a pair of Volvo Penta D6-380 inboard diesel engines that deliver a maximum speed of approximately 36 knots and a cruising speed of between 25 and 32 knots. A draught of only 0.7 metres even at a full load displacement of nearly 15 tonnes means the craft can easily access the more restrictive inland waters of Lucerne. A fuel tank capacity of 800 litres guarantees significantly extended endurance, a critical attribute during firefighting and rescue missions that could extend up to hours.

A bow thruster has also been installed to ensure precise low-speed manoeuvring, which is important when carefully positioning the boat alongside vessels in distress.

The boat can accommodate a mix of cargo and additional personnel (maximum of 13) such as rescued accident survivors. Loading and unloading of cargo is done mainly via the bow ramp, though a Fassi M20A knuckle boom crane mounted on the foredeck may also be utilised for this purpose.

The wheelhouse has seating for two operators and is suspension-mounted to help reduce noise and vibration. It also features enhanced heating and ventilation systems, including defrosting equipment for the windows, to ensure a comfortable interior environment under a range of weather conditions. The windows are forward-angled to ensure reduced glare as well as improved visibility.

The exterior of the wheelhouse has been fitted with safety railings on either side in addition to the railings mounted on the hull perimeter to provide added safety when walking on deck.

Thor‘s firefighting equipment consists of a Rosenbauer N35 pump with a manually operated monitor and a dedicated Volvo Penta D3-150 motor. Lucerne Fire Brigade commander Theo Honermann said the boat is versatile enough to also be used to fight fires on structures located near the water in addition to fires on other vessels.

Secondary functions will include oil spill recovery and general pollution response as well as safety patrols, thus making the boat a highly versatile platform for responding to a wide range of emergencies.

Thor‘s electronics include a radar and a plotter from Simrad. Electrical power for these and other onboard systems is supplied by a Mase Marine 20kW generator.

See all the other content for Emergency Services Week here.

Thor
SPECIFICATIONS
Type of vessel:Firefighting and rescue boat
Classification:FMAW 2016.2 / CE / BSV SR 747.201.1
Flag:Switzerland
Owner:Lucerne Fire Brigade, Switzerland
Operator:Lucerne Fire Brigade, Switzerland
Designer:Weldmec Marine/Kewatec AluBoat, Finland
Builder:Kewatec AluBoat, Finland
Hull construction material:Aluminium
Superstructure construction material:Aluminium
Deck construction material:Aluminium
Length overall:13.9 metres
Length waterline:10.9 metres
Beam:4.05 metres
Draught:0.7 metres
Displacement:14.8 tonnes
Deadweight tonnage:3.5
Main engines:2 x Volvo Penta D6-380 inboards
Generator:Mase Marine, 20 kW
Side thruster:Hydraulic
Maximum speed:36 knots
Cruising speed:32 knots
Radar:Simrad Halo 4
Plotter:Simrad NSS Evo 3
Crane:Fassi M20A
Fendering:D-type
Other equipment installed:Bow ramp; wheelhouse heating and ventilation; window defrosting equipment
Paints/coatings:Jotun
Safety equipment:Wheelhouse exterior railings
Firefighting equipment:Rosenbauer N35 pump with monitor; Volvo Penta D3-150 pump motor
Type of fuel:Diesel
Fuel capacity:800 litres
Crew:2
Passengers:13

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