Orkney, off the north of Scotland, is a place where, a leading Australian naval architect tells me, the weather is usually grim and the rain blows upwards. Having spent a few days there, I can’t argue with that assessment. The Scapa Pathfinder has obviously been designed and built with those conditions in mind. If there is any firm of naval architects that can cope with those conditions, it is Macduff Ship Design which is based not far away on the Scottish mainland in the charming fishing village of Macduff. Its designs are innovative, attractive and very practical.
“The Scapa Pathfinder is the first vessel we have delivered with equipment for IMO Tier III emissions control,” Ian Ellis, Managing Director, Macduff Ship Design told Baird Maritime. “The owners placed high importance on this aspect, exceeding the current statutory requirements [IMO Tier III is mandatory in the North Sea for new builds with keels laid after January 2021].
“With this in mind, she also takes advantage of the renewable energy available on Orkney to eliminate the onboard generator for electrical load, instead having batteries charged from a shore connection. For Macduff Ship Design, she is the first pilot vessel we have delivered with all-aluminium construction.”
Ellis said the company is proud of its long-standing relationship with both the owners, Orkney Islands Council, and the shipyard, Astilleros Armon. The designer has worked with Orkney for a long time supporting its fleet, and was involved with the procurement of its previous newbuild pilot vessel.
“Our proposal for this vessel was well informed by the previous work we have done with Orkney, and combined with the expertise of Armon presented an attractive offer in the competitive tender process,” said Ellis.
In 2019, Macduff Ship Design has enjoyed working in a wide variety of sectors and markets. Earlier this year the company delivered the fishing vessel Atlantic Titan to Canadian owners, and continues to be busy with fishing vessels for the local and overseas markets, with builds currently progressing in Scotland, France and Vietnam.
“We are also engaged with customers in the aquaculture industry, with vessels under construction for the UK and Canada, and interest from Norway and Australia,” added Ellis.
“As the year comes to an end, we are happy to be continuing our run of pilot vessels with two newbuilds in Sri Lanka and a pair of 14-metre harbour workboats have recently been completed in Hong Kong to our design. We are optimistic that the future will bring many more interesting projects, as we strengthen relationships with existing partners and also find new ones in different markets.”
As with all maritime sectors, the progress towards low emissions and renewable energy will play a large part in future pilot vessel design.
“From this project we have found that the equipment for IMO Tier III compliance brings unique challenges to the design of the vessel in terms of space and weight requirements,” said Ellis.
“We also see battery hybrid pilot vessels emerging as a market segment, although in this case we understand that there will be complications for large pilot vessels that require longer endurance at higher speeds.”
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