VESSEL REFIT | New York – Former oil spill cleanup vessel rebuilt for pilot station duties

Photo: Freud

Family-owned Feeney Shipyard in Kingston, New York, has completed work to convert the oil spill response vessel Maine Responder into a pilot station vessel for the Sandy Hook Pilots Association of New York and New Jersey.

JMS Naval Architects provided engineering support for the conversion of the 208-foot (63-metre) vessel, which has since been renamed New York and is now the largest vessel in the Sandy Hook Pilots’ fleet. The vessel was originally built by VT Halter Marine in 1993 and used as an oil spill response vessel (OSRV) by Washington, DC-based Marine Spill Response Corporation (MSRC) until 2019.

New York has since replaced a similarly named vessel that has been in service with the Sandy Hook Pilots for nearly 50 years. In its new role, the rebuilt vessel will perform the duties of a large tender that will provide smaller pilot boats and their crews with adequate logistical support without them having to return to shore.

Maine Responder prior to undergoing conversion (Photo: Marine Spill Response Corporation)

JMS’ work began by surveying Maine Responder ahead of the vessel purchase to assess its general condition and suitability to being converted into a pilot station boat. A comparative seakeeping analysis was also performed to determine the vessel’s motion characteristics while on station.

In general, the conversion design included extensive modifications to remove the oil recovery systems. The work also entailed the installation of a large deck house for the pilot berths, a lounge, and a mess as well as the incorporation of operational capabilities specific to the pilots’ mission. The hull and the superstructure were also reinforced to ensure the vessel was capable of withstanding harsh winter conditions typical in the northeastern United States.

New York has also been fitted with a port rescue station with a net recovery system for use in man overboard situations. Deck de-icing systems are meanwhile installed at the port and starboard pilot boarding stations along with a hot water/steam system for power washing to de-ice the pilot boats when alongside, allowing pilotage operations to be carried out even during periods of moderate snowfall.

Photo: Oldenburg

A new knuckle boom crane will be used primarily to service the port and starboard rigid inflatable boats (RIBs) that will be operated as the vessel’s own tender craft. The crane will also be used for loading gear when pierside. The existing potable water capacity has been increased threefold to nearly 60,000 gallons (227,000 litres), and two port and starboard fueling/transfer stations for small boats have also been fitted.

In the pilothouse are port and starboard screens showing live video feeds from the CCTV cameras that face the pilot boarding area (A viewing screen showing this same boarding area is also installed in the mess.). For easier communications especially while underway, speakers are fitted in the port and starboard bridge wings as well as in the pilot boarding area to ensure two-way communications between these two key areas of the vessel.

The pilothouse now also features floor-to-ceiling windows facing aft and down to provide the bridge crew with a clearer view of the pilot boarding station as an added measure of comfort during transfers.

The completed New York retains its helicopter pad, ABS Classification, and US Coast Guard COI as a Subchapter I vessel. Following its delivery to the Sandy Hook Pilots, the vessel began operating out of Staten Island.

The Sandy Hook pilot station vessel New York (right) and its similarly named predecessor (Photo: Sandy Hook Pilots Association)

Click here for more news, features, and vessel reviews as part of this month’s focus on marine pilotage operations.

New York
Type of vessel:Pilot station boat
Classification:ABS; US Coast Guard Subchapter I
Owner:Sandy Hook Pilots Association, USA
Designer:JMS Naval Architects, USA
Builder:Feeney Shipyard, USA
Length overall:208 feet (63 metres)
Beam:45 feet (14 metres)
Other equipment installed:De-icing systems; hot water/steam washing system; fuel transfer stations
Safety equipment:Rescue station
Tenders:2 x rigid inflatable boats
Freshwater capacity:60,000 gallons (227,000 litres)
Accommodation:Cabins; lounge; mess
Operational area:New York Harbor, USA

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