Dongara Marine of Geraldton, Western Australia has been contracted to build two pilot boats for Fremantle Ports. The duo is being developed in partnership with naval architect Southerly Designs, to Australia’s National Standard for Commercial Vessels.
Ship & Boat International understands that both vessels will be very similar to the Dongara-/ Southerly-produced Berkeley class, which includes the pilot boats Berkeley (delivered in 2015) and Genesis (delivered in 2019), both currently chartered to Fremantle Ports. Those vessels feature an overall length of 19.2m, a 6.1m beam and a draught of 1.7m, and are outfitted to accommodate two crew members and six pilots.
Speaking shortly after the contract was announced, Rita Saffioti, minister for transport, planning and ports, said: “Fremantle Ports choosing a local manufacturer for its new pilot boats reflects well on the high quality of Western Australian marine designers and manufacturers. Western Australia’s coastline is challenging, and the port therefore requires suitable craft for the job.
“This contract will support jobs locally in Geraldton and showcase their work every day at the Port of Fremantle in the years ahead. Without fast, efficient, reliable and safe pilot vessels, our ports can’t operate.”
For now, the newbuilds’ powertrain info remained under wraps. However, if they do opt to copy Genesis in this respect, each will likely feature twin Scania DI16 076 engines, each rated 809kW, driving Nakashima fixed-pitch propellers for a service speed of 28knots, increasing to 31knots max. A fuel capacity of 4,000litres is also expected. Delivery of the first pilot boat is scheduled for mid-2024