VESSEL REVIEW | Petrel – First of a compact trio of pilot boats for the greater Melbourne area


Port Phillip Sea Pilots (PPSP), which provides pilotage services to the ports of Melbourne, Geelong and Western Port in south-east Australia, came to local builder Hart Marine looking for a vessel that could cover multiple tasks.

Firstly and primarily, PSPP wanted a vessel to deliver pilots to ships at anchor in the Port of Melbourne. Secondly, it wanted its new vessel to be able to do pilot transfers to ships coming in and out of Western Port.

Hart Marine worked very closely with French naval architecture company Pantocarene to create a vessel 12.5 metres long that has all of the features of larger pilot vessels.

The beak bow again that is standard on Pantocarene pilot vessel designs has once again been employed, but the flare of the bow has been increased to assist in deflecting waves to give the deck and wheelhouse screens some protection from spray.

Petrel will operate for PPSP out of both Melbourne and Flinders. She has the capability of performing duties in both locations and will be the first of three similar vessels that will be on rotation across the two sites. She will be replacing PPSP’s ageing fleet of Halmatic pilot vessels.

With its advanced design, Hart Marine told Baird Maritime it is seeing very low noise and vibration levels, thanks to its remote mounted wheelhouse, a valuable feature for both pilots and pilot boat crews as they spend many hours in these vessels each day, with fatigue being a constant concern.

As Petrel has all of the features of both its 15.6- and 17.3-metre predecessors, this meant that Hart Marine and Pantocarene had to consider and put a lot of time and research into systems to make the Petrel function as its bigger siblings using less space.

As always, the first vessel of a series is the most challenging and takes much longer to build than the vessels to follow, and Hart Marine expects the design and build process will be refined for the second and third vessels.

Like the rest of the PPSP fleet, Petrel is fitted with Cummins engines, in this case a pair of QSC8.3 main engines, each 370 kW at 2,600 rpm, driving twin, counter-rotating propellers via ZF gearboxes.

PPSP has also gone with a full suite of Furuno electronics to match its existing fleet.

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

Type of vessel: Pilot boat
Classification: NSCV 2C
Flag: Australian
Owner: Port Phillip Sea Pilots, Australia
Operator Port Phillip Sea Pilots, Australia
Designer: Pantocarene Naval Architects, France
CAD software: Rhino
Builder: Hart Marine, Australia
Construction material: FRP
Length overall: 13.1 metres
Length waterline: 12.5 metres
Length bp: 12.5 metres
Beam: 4.7 metres
Draught: 1.52 metres
Depth: 1.94 metres
Displacement: 17 tonnes
Main engine/s: 2 x Cummins QSC8.3, each 370 kW @ 2,600 rpm
Gearbox/s: 2 x ZF305-3A 7 deg. down angle
Propulsion: 2 x counter rotating propeller
Side thruster: Vetus 150kg
Steering system: Parker Hannifin custom hydraulic steering system
Maximum speed: 27 knots
Cruising speed: 23 knots
Range: 350 nm
Hydraulic equipment: Parker Hannifin custom hydraulic steering system
Electronics supplied by: Olectric systems
Radar: Furuno NXT radome
Depth sounder: Furuno
Radio: ICOM M506
Autopilot: Furuno 711
Compass/es: Furuno PG 700
GPS: Furuno GP-330B
Plotters: Furuno TZ touch 14″
Audio video system: Comprehensive CCTV system with hard drive recording
Winch: Muir VR 2500
Paints/coatings: International paints Intersmooth antifouling
Windows: Custom toughened glass
Seating: UES 93 series with UES ergo air ride for helm seat
Lighting: Hella LED internal and external
Floor/deck surface finishes: Non-skid decks, composite tek vinyl interior
Interior designer: Hart Marine
Interior fitout/furnishings: Hart Marine custom
Safety equipment: Life jackets, continous safety rail system
Liferaft: Survitec coastal life raft
Type of fuel: Diesel
Fuel capacity: 2000L
Fuel consumption: 140L/hr
Crew: 1
Passengers: 5

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