VESSEL REVIEW | Genesis – Harbour Services Australia puts a second pilot boat to work in Fremantle


Western Australian boatbuilder Dongara Marine has delivered a second Berkeley-class pilot boat to the port of Fremantle. Named Genesis it joins Berkeley, which has been operating with great success in the Western Australian port since 2015.

Whereas the earlier delivery is owned by Fremantle Pilots, Harbour Services Australia (HSA) acquired the 19.4-metre-long Genesis to join its fleet of 18 workboats. Ranging from six metre punts and mooring / lines boats up to a 21-metre cargo, crew transfer and dive/survey vessel, the fleet includes craft that have been adapted from other roles such as police patrol boats, fishing vessels, and purpose-built pilot boats. Genesis is the first significant newbuild the company has commissioned.

“High open water speed for fast transits, extreme stability, and confirmed self-righting are all hallmarks of the Berkeley class,” Dongara Marine’s Managing Director Rohan Warr said, “but it is arguably the high levels of seakeeping and manoeuvrability that contribute most to the pilot boat design maximising overall operability, as well as the safety and comfort of pilots and crew, even in challenging offshore seas.”

Southerly Designs designed the aluminium hull specifically for demanding conditions.

“The hull design combines a long waterline, fine entry and highly flared bow with twin keels and twin, over-size rudders that reduce roll and increase both directional stability and manoeuvring performance,” Warr explained.

“This is combined with a resiliently mounted composite superstructure, the low weight of which also contributes to stability and operating efficiency, while simultaneously enhancing habitability through reduced noise, vibration, and heat transfer.”

HSA approached the company about a variant tailored to its own specific requirements and preferences.

“We have seen the earlier boats, in particular Berkeley, which we see performing outstandingly day in, day out here in Fremantle,” said HSA’s Operations Manager, Eddie Wolsoncroft. “We’ve also looked at other new pilot boats – and indeed we operate some former pilot boats – but it was clear to us that the WA-built vessel was the right platform for us, in particular due to its superior dryness.

“As a result of optimising the full system, including engines, running gear, and vessel displacement and trim we are achieving fuel consumption that is about 30 per cent less than earlier Berkeleys at the same operating speed,” Wolsoncroft added.

“As with all vessels the competing elements of weight, strength, fuel consumption, and seakeeping form the basis of the elements required to be reconciled in the final design,” commented Andrew Taylor of Southerly Designs. “Defining the optimum balance between these elements is often subjective. In the Berkeley class we have tipped the balance further towards robust strength and superior sea handling qualities, rather than the minimisation of build cost.”

Southerly Designs used its twin keel underwater arrangement for these vessels. The twin keel provides several advantages to sea keeping and handling, namely greater directional stability and high turning forces facilitated by twin pintle-supported rudders.

This provides superior protection from grounding and fouling for propellers and rudders, and significantly enhanced roll damping.

Genesis runs comfortably at 24.5 knots and achieved 32 knots at full power during trials.

Oversize cooling water inlets; a central fuel filtration station; multiple inspection and flushing points; and electrical cabling that is not only colour coded and tagged but also physically labelled are a few example of some detail-oriented changes from previous Berkeley-class vessels.

Whereas the preceding Berkeley-class vessels are all dedicated to pilot transfers, Genesis has a more diversified role, transferring surveyors, ships agents, crew and, should it be required, pilots between ship and shore. To facilitate this, the cabin is arranged with military-grade suspension seats for six passengers and two crew, up from the four pilots of the earlier vessels.

While the layout has changed somewhat, the quality and comfort provided to those onboard has remained at superior levels.

See all the other content from this month’s Pilotage Week right here, including reviews, features, opinions and news.

Type of vessel:Pilot boat/personnel transfer vessel
Classification:Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) – National Standard for Commercial Vessels (NSCV) Class 2B and 2D
Port of Registry:Fremantle, Australia
Owner:Harbour Services, Australia
Designer:Southerly Designs, Australia
Builder:Dongara Marine, Australia
Construction material:Aluminium hull and deck, resin-infused composite foam sandwich superstructure
Length overall:19.4 metres
Beam:6.1 metres
Draught:1.8 metres
Main engines:

2 x 809 kW (1,100 hp)

Gearboxes:2 x Twin Disc MGX5146A
Propulsion:2 x Nakashima fixed pitch propellers (M&J Engineering)
Gensets:2 x Caterpillar C1.5
Steering:2 x pintel-hung rudders coupled to Danfoss/Vickers rams
Maximum speed:32.0 knots
Cruising speed:24.5 knots
Range:450 nautical miles at 24 knots
Fendering:Custom poly urea coated PE foam fender system by Northern Star United Group
Radar:Furuno DRS 6A
Depth sounder:Furuno DFF1
Radios:2 x Icom VHF
Satcom:Iridium Sea Captain
Autopilot:Simrad AP70
GPS:Furuno GP330
Plotters:3 x Furuno 15″ TZT
AIS:Furuno FA150 Class A
Batteries:Bosch sealed N150
Hydraulic equipment supplied by:Offshore Hydraulics
Winches:Muir Storm 3500 anchor winch
Paints/coatings:Awlcraft 2000 Premium Gloss
Windows:Windows West
Seating:8 x Shockwave S2 1200 seats
Lighting:Hella Marine
Safety equipment:Survitec
MOB recovery:Goodchild Marine
Freshwater:400 litres
Sewage/blackwater:200 litres
Type of fuel:Diesel oil
Fuel capacity:4,000 litres
Fuel consumption:8.3 litres per nautical mile (total) at 24 knots

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