These small, 13-metre, Croatian-designed and -built, all-aluminium pilot boats are truly multi-purpose.
Colnago Marine has hitherto mostly built leisure boats at its yard near Split, however, these fast, multi-purpose pilot boats built for a very experienced Ecuadorian owner seem certain to offer Colnago an effective entry into the wider world of workboats.
They show considerable thoughtful “pilot friendly” design attributes in terms of layout, equipment, safety and comfort. Furthermore, they can operate in Sea State 4 and Beaufort 7, which is impressive for 13-metre craft. At 35 knots, they are also very fast.
“The boats are special due in part to their high operating speed and deck carrying capacity of four tonnes,” Colnago told Baird Maritime. “They can carry spare parts of up to one tonne displacement up to 240 kilometres from shore if needed, like in the case of assisting in repairs of ships that get stranded far from the coast.
“Further, because they are capable of staying out at sea for longer periods and have been fitted with liveaboard accommodations featuring air-conditioning, crew changes can have intervals of as long as seven days.”
Remarkably, the entire process from design to delivery, including project documentation and actual construction, took only five and a half months, as Colnago was compelled to accelerate the delivery following the onset of Covid-19. Fortunately for the company, business proceeded at a steady pace in 2020 even amidst the pandemic.
“It was a very fruitful year for our company,” remarked Colnago. “We did not have to implement strict measures and yet we were able to complete 17 boats of various types, though these were mostly for passenger transport use in Croatia. We were fortunate as we did not suffer the same fate as other local shipyards that had to close shop following order cancellations by their customers throughout the year.”
Inquiries and orders have also been coming in from around the world, and Colnago has credited its professionalism and expertise with making this development possible. Partly due to growing interest from overseas markets, the company has decided to include additional aluminium boats of 12 to 30 metres in length in its portfolio.
Colnago further commented that the market for pilot boats, and the Croatian commercial marine industry as a whole, will grow “slowly but surely” over the next few years.
“Marine tourism is the sector that we hope will return to normal pre-Covid levels here in Croatia,” Colnago told Baird Maritime. “That will mean an increased demand for pleasure boats and small commercial craft, particularly those built by small shipyards.”
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