Each impressive million-pound craft is built to withstand the five-metre swells and 100mph winds the Welsh crew takes on.
The first of a trio of pilot boats designed to tackle extreme weather and bring massive tankers safely into port has been delivered to the Port of Milford Haven in Wales.
The 48-tonne, 19m vessel St Brides was built by Welsh company Mainstay Marine Solutions and is said to be built for the tough weather conditions that pilot boat crews often face in southwest Wales’ Milford Haven waterway.
The port’s pilot boat crews were featured in Channel 4’s documentary “Britain’s Winter: Storm Heroes,” that followed crews whose jobs take them into difficult weather conditions.
According to a statement from the Milford Haven Port Authority, the boats are “capable of reaching up to 14 knots with 12 persons on board … designed to be used extensively in heavy weather and are likely to operate in swells up to 5m in wave height.
“They are able to withstand the impact of coming alongside large tankers in turbulent sea conditions and provide a safe platform when transferring pilots to and from ships …”
As the first of three boats set to be delivered to the port, St Brides’ deployment marks the start of a plan to replace the port’s current fleet of four vessels, including one that has been operating since the early 1980s.
Alec Don, Chief Executive of the Port of Milford Haven, said: “This substantial investment of over £3.6 million in the complete renewal of our pilot boat fleet will provide the port with three identical, modern, state-of-the-art boats with full interchangeability of parts. These boats, together with our highly skilled and trained crews, constitute the backbone of our ability to provide a safe and reliable service to our customers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.”
St Brides was named following a public competition, and a traditional naming ceremony will take place for all three boats later this year.
St Brides was officially blessed last week by Father Harri Williams of St Katherine’s and St Peter’s Church, before coming into full service.
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