Fowey Harbour Commissioners introduce the new launch 'Polmear'

Fowey Harbour Commissioners new multi-purpose launch Polmear at sea.
Fowey Harbour Commissioners new multi-purpose launch Polmear at sea.
Polmears hard chine hull is built largely from 8mm steel plate.
Polmears hard chine hull is built largely from 8mm steel plate.
Industry Database

The new multi-purpose launch Polmear is now in service with the The Fowey Harbour Commissioners . Built principally to serve the nearby port of Par, the new vessel replaces an earlier dual-purpose pilot/workboat that has given good service since its introduction in 1977.

Fowey Harbour Commissioners are the pilotage authority for the port and provide all of the marine services to the privately owned Imerys Port of Par (formerly English China Clay). A new vessel was required to meet current regulatory standards and improve the ability to handle larger ships in the port. A decision was therefore taken to replace the older vessel with a larger and more powerful one capable of providing all of the pilotage, towage and berthing assistance necessary, not only for the port of Par but also to act as a relief during the handling of large ships at Fowey.

A contract for construction was awarded to the local yard of C Toms and Sons Limited, Polruan, where work started in mid 2003 to meet a planned delivery in the spring of this year.

Polmear was designed by Falmouth naval architect Dennis Swire and is a vessel of 14.65m in length overall with a beam of 5.5m and a working draft of 1.65m. The design criteria specified a vessel with a maximum speed of 9 to 10 knots with a bollard pull of 10 tonnes.

This was intended to give the boat the ability to carry out the pilotage duties off Par harbour in St Austell Bay and to assist vessels of up to 110m in length in the restricted confines of Par harbour.

Polmear meets all of the requirements of the Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) codes of practice applicable to this size and type of vessel, carrying out the duties mentioned.

The hard chine hull is built largely from 8mm steel plate with the super structure and other plating at 6mm.

Twin Cummins NTA 14M 440bhp (269kW) main engines running at 1800rev/minute provide the necessary power.

The engines are turbo-charged and after cooled and have proved ideal for the purpose. Dry exhaust systems incorporate silencers located in the engine room and overboard outlets in the transom. Engines are cooled by Weka type 6P6-1000 box coolers, supplied by Causeway Marine Limited, located above the turn of the bilge, amidships, on both sides of the vessel. The choice of cooling system was determined by the need for the vessel to operate for long periods at less than 2 knots and to obviate the salt water cooling problems experienced with the previous boat while working close to a muddy bottom.

Power is transmitted to a pair of 1000mm diameter four blade propellers via Twin Disc MG 1554 gearboxes with a reduction ratio of 3.1 to 1. Virtually all of the stern gear and propulsion equipment was supplied by Kort Propulsion, the propellers rotate within Kort type 19A propulsion nozzles and are mounted on 90mm diameter stainless steel tail shafts. The latter run in water lubricated stern tubes complete with bearings and stuffing glands fore and aft. Kort high-lift rudders are also fitted and operated by a Wills Ridley hydraulic steering system supplied by Southern Cross Marine. The steering gear is equipped with an emergency backup and manual emergency steering systems.

Polmear is fitted with a Kort - model KT45DD bow thruster producing approximately 420kgs of transverse thrust. The bow thruster was installed to improve manoeuvrability in the narrow confines of Par Harbour and to assist in positioning the vessel during shiphandling operations and in particular when pushing on ships at alongside berths. This reduces the need for ships to use their own bow thrusters, which in turn reduces damage to quay facings and drying berths.

The hydraulic system aboard Polmear , supplied by Fowey Fluid Power of Lostwithiel, powers the steering gear and bow thruster. All of the piping is to MCA standards using zinc plated mild steel pipe work fabricated onboard and the number of connections kept to a minimum to reduce the possibility of leakage. Further additions are to be added to the system including the installation of a 5 tonne hydraulically powered bridle winch to control the gob rope whilst towing. The later will similarly be driven from the gearbox mounted load-sensing hydraulic pump.

A towing connection is made aboard Polmear by means of a Britannia Marine quick release tow hook, with a safe working load of 10 tonnes. The hook can be released from the steering position or on deck as required.

In the wheelhouse, a steering jog lever is provided on either side, in addition to a conventional centrally located wheel, allowing the coxswain to work from either side. Marine Electronics of Fowey and Falmouth provided the Furuno M1833 radar with colour plotter and a Furuno (GP32) GPS system. An Icom VHF radio system is installed and provided with microphones on either side of the wheelhouse.

The electronics outfit also includes an echo sounder and transducers, and a Jotron 40GPS EPIRB.

From time to time the vessel will be used to provide a backup for survey work in the approaches to Par Harbour and the system is designed to accommodate the necessary additional equipment.

Accommodation on the vessel is basic and intended only to meet the needs of short voyages to sea and normal onboard operations.

The wheelhouse has sufficient seating for all of those onboard and a large accommodation space in the forepeak houses a work-bench and an emergency generator capable of running all of the vessel's systems and charging batteries. There is also adequate space for the stowage of safety equipment, vessel stores.

Pilots are boarded from a raised deck forward with access at wheelhouse level. A safety harness rail is fitted around the wheelhouse. All of the safety equipment; life jackets, life rafts, and fire fighting equipment, including CO 2and fire detection systems were supplied and installed by Cosalt International through their Saltash based office. This arrangement complies with the Harbour Commissioner's policy of using a local, high standard, source of supply.

After extensive trials for the owners and the MCA the vessel was accepted into service at the beginning of July and has proved more than adequate for handling ships and boarding and landing the pilots off the Port of Par.

The vessel was named on 15 June and accepted by the Chairman of the Commissioners Mr A G Williams.

The Fowey Harbour Commissioners and Pilots are delighted with the vessel and the standard of construction.

Polmear meets all of the requirements set down in the replacement programme. During the trials the vessel was used to handle larger ships in Fowey Harbour and when the tugs servicing that port are in repair or maintenance the Polmear may be used as a relief ensuring 24-hour cover for both ports. A bollard pull test was carried out during the trials and Polmear achieved the 10 tonne bollard pull specified. The vessel will be maintained by the Harbour Commissioners in its own yard and the paint system has been designed for ease of maintenance, thus reducing the amount of down time necessary for planned maintenance.

MJ Information No: 19815

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