Incat Crowther and Marine Engineering Consultants (MEC) have started work on the construction of a 24m long-range catamaran patrol vessel that will work to protect the Great Barrier Reef, Incat Crowther said Wednesday.
The Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area (GBRWHA), where the vessel will be operated, is jointly managed by Queensland’s Department of National Parks, Recreation, Sport and Racing (DNPRSR) and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA).
Incat Crowther won the tender with its concept design, which is characterized by its consideration for its operational environment and by the application of several new technologies. The design concept was then used as the basis of a competitive build tender, with the build contract being awarded to MEC.
Among its environmental features, the vessel is equipped extensive solar panels, high R-value insulation, zoned air conditioning, as well as window blinds and shutters to reduce the impact of the scorching Queensland sun.
The extensive solar array takes advantage of lithium-ion batteries to reduce the use of diesel generators both in operation and while at anchor at night. The batteries are charged during the day by solar power, allowing the vessel’s diesel generators to remain shut down overnight. At these times, the battery bank will supply power for house loads, including air conditioning. In the event of increased demand, the generators will automatically start. Depending on the load case, they will either provide direct power, or charge the batteries. This reduces running costs and will dramatically reduce the cost of maintaining the generators. The cost effective nature of this configuration is further enhanced by the benefits of lithium ion batteries. These batteries are a quarter of the weight and can provide up to ten times the power and ten times the lifecycle of conventional lead acid batteries.
The vessel’s aft deck houses a cradle for a 6m RIB, which is capable of being launched and retrieved at speeds of up to 6 knots and in seas to 3 meters. Dive tank racks are provided, as are a pair of bench seats for dive preparation. The main deck cabin features a large wet room aft, with toilet, shower and laundry facilities. A large mess with seats for 15 is situated opposite a large galley. A large pantry adjoins the galley and houses provisions for long missions. Additional storage is provided in the bridging structure, accessed via removable floor panels. Forward of this is a second lounge area to starboard and a pair of computer workstations to port. There are two twin cabins forward with a bathroom, and doors to the side deck providing easy access around the vessel.
Aft of the wheelhouse, the upper deck features two twin cabins, a bathroom, power tools store and cold store. The aft upper deck is divided in to two distinct spaces. Aft is a 4.5m RIB with crane for launch and retrieval. This area also houses the vessel’s cargo space, which is separated from the crew recreation space by cargo barriers. Forward of these barriers is an outdoor mess area with a barbecue.
An additional 8 crew are accommodated in twin cabins in the hulls. Storage capacity is provided aft for 1500 liters of unleaded petrol, for use on the RIBs.
Multiple drive train options were evaluated, with hybrid propulsion options at the forefront. Long term costs were taken into account, with the decision being to combine conventional diesels with supplementary solar panels and a highly-efficient hull form.
The vessel will be powered by a pair of Yanmar 6AYM-WGT engines, producing 670kW each. Capable of speeds up to 25 knots, the vessel is optimized for efficient cruising between 12 and 20 knots.
Incat Crowther and MEC have worked together on previous projects, most recently with the launch of Riverside Avalon, Riverside Catalina and Riverside Mandalay, and through other partnerships dating back to the Amaroo in 2000.