Cross-border role for new survey boat
The hydrographic survey boat 'Harmonie' has gone into service with the new Dutch-Belgian North Sea Port. Tom Todd takes a look at this first-in-class newbuild.
North Sea Port was created last December through the merger of Zeeland Seaports in the Netherlands and the Ghent Port Company in neighbouring Belgium. In service since March, the 15.09m by 4.74m Dutch-built Harmonie is the first workboat for the new port.
Its job is monitoring the 60kms sea and river area forming the new port - from Vlissingen on the North Sea viaTerneuzen at the mouth of the Scheldt, to Ghent - Belgium’s third largest port – 40 kms inland, upriver and across the border.
Not surprisingly, Harmonie is described as “a real jack-of-all-trades”. Its main task is to sound and survey the port’s docks and harbours as well as the Wielingen Fairway off Vlissingen, where it has a fixed berth. Tidal harbours and docks en route silt up rapidly and are inspected six times a year. Twice annually is usual for the other harbours and docks.
Also on Harmonie’s job list are soundings where dredging maintenance work is under way and during new port construction projects. All kinds of inspection and traffic guidance work is also expected of the boat along with deployment on commercial tours and in emergencies.
Harmonie replaces a 42 year old local vessel and North Sea Port says just one boat in multi-functional operation for a one-off investment cost of €925,000 makes good economic sense. Given the work scope, distances involved and regular downtimes, it will be interesting to see how well it copes on its own. For now however, a second newbuild “is not yet in the picture”, a source said.
Harmonie was built by the Dutch New Generation Shipyards and is the first in a new class designed for coastal and inland water work. Yard Managing Director Albert Keizer told Maritime Journal its development began three years ago. The idea, he said, was to develop “an innovative, modern series of functional and stable sailing vessels”. The result is the Profiler Class now available in four sizes - 15.00m, 16.6m, 19.9m, and 25.5m.
One main design characteristic is the continuous deep V-hull with twin screw 65mm shafts built by the yard with propellers from Exalto. Propulsion is from two Volvo Penta D6 370hp engines in an engine room just below the stern working deck. It is reached through that deck for major maintenance and via a fireproof interior door for daily maintenance. Harmonie also boasts comfortable crew quarters with galley, toilet and technical facilities.
NG Shipyards singled out the custom-built D-shaped foam-filled fenders for particular design mention. Made by Fender Innovations they make Harmonie especially easy to handle and have a stabilising effect in high seas, the Dutch yard said.
Hydrographic survey equipment was supplied by Denmark’s Teledyne Reson and installed in co-operation also involving the yard and Zeeland Seaports. North Sea Port Asset Manager Nico Durinck told Maritime Journal the firm “had the best offer for the total picture”.
Nico van Woerkom at Teledyne Marine said an ultra-high resolution Sea Bat T50-R-INS20 multi-beam echosounder, a Teledyne Odom CV200 single-beam echosounder, sound velocity probe sensors from Valeport and Teledyne PDS2000 data acquisition and processing software were installed. The firm also supplied and installed the sonar blister unit, putting it into service and testing it, he said.
Albert Keizer underscored the specialist hydrographic expertise of NG Shipyards over more than twenty years of building and servicing hydrographic workboats. "It is our job to develop a platform on which hydrographic equipment can function completely. “The details are very important and disturbances in underwater acoustics ... have to be prevented," he said.
The navigation equipment on Harmonie was supplied by Navimar in Terneuzen. The firm’s Adriaan van Os detailed two Sailor RT6210 VHF units, an Alphatron Class A AIS system, a Simrad AP60 autopilot with FU80 follow-up steering, and a Swiss Radar Precision Navigator 2 river radar Basic 7ft.
Keizer also mentioned a GSM module for bilge, temperature, battery condition and burglary alarm. Harmonie air conditioning came from Webasto and a Post Water heating system is installed, NG Shipyards said. All onboard components are described as easily accessible for maintenance and inspection.
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