'Forth Linesman' is the first Tri-Meercat

The triple hull 'Forth Linesman' has a beam of 8.5m and a 30 ton load capacity on deck.
Industry Database

When construction was underway on the first of his multi-role workboats, boatbuilder Peter Smith called time for the workers to have a coffee break. The sight of welders popping up from each of the seven sections which comprise one of the vessel's hulls reminded him of a small underground burrowing mammal which inhabits Africa's Kalahari Desert. Its name, meerkat, was adapted to reflect the vessel's catamaran configuration and Southampton UK based Meercat Workboats had a name.

The company has also quickly acquired momentum, with each of its vessels snapped up by operators well before completion, reflecting the continuing good health of the marine construction support sector. With the second Meercat under build in December 2007, Peter Smith ordered the steel and engines for a third one although neither vessel had a buyer at the time. Within two weeks, Meercat 2 had been sold to Norwegian operators and Scotland's Briggs Marine placed an order for what would be Meercat 3.

The designation proved highly relevant, as Meercat 3 would be delivered last August as Forth Linesman, the first ever Tri-Meercat. Between the two 15.5m hulls of a standard Meercat a central third hull has been added, giving the Tri-Meercat a 8.5m beam and extending the substantial deck strength of 7.5 tons per square metre across a larger area to provide a 30 ton load capacity.

Twin and tri-hull Meercats share the significant advantage of being road transportable and are capable of being operational within an hour of arriving on site. The maximum lift requirement is only 24 tons, well within the capability of most site cranes. Mobilisation is simplified for export, with the hulls travelling on road trailers on board Ro-Ro ships to the nearest port and launched there for onward sailing or continuing by road to the site.

Forth Linesman is the third Meercat to feature main engines, gearboxes and gensets supplied by Devon UK based WaterMota Ltd. Its heavy duty 8.1 litre, six cylinder Doosan L136Ti turbocharged and intercooled main engines each develop 230bhp at 2,200 rpm. The engines are arranged for heat exchanger cooling and are fitted with 24 volt marine specification insulated return electric starting with battery charging alternators. The engines are supplied with EIAPP emission compliance certificates and are direct coupled to Dong-I DMT110A reversing gearboxes with a 2.09:1 reduction ratio. The Westerbeke 8.3kW three phase, 50Hz, 230/380 volt marine specification genset is powered by a Mitsubishi marine diesel close coupled to a Mecc Alte alternator, all mounted on common base rails and flexible mounts.

The versatility of Forth Linesman, which is engaged in works at various locations on the Firth of Forth, is further enhanced by a Palfinger HTC PK23500MC 23.5 ton capacity marine crane and a 1,500mm diameter moonpool in the central hull.

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