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New Composite Catamaran Thames Patrol Boats

20 January 2006

A radical new design of patrol boats has been ordered from Ecocats by the Port of London Authority (PLA) for use on the Thames.

The new craft will enable the PLA to deliver further improvements in its work to maintain high safety standards in the upper part of the tidal Thames. PLA launches patrol the river daily and assist with river functions, rowing and sailing regattas, etc., as well as providing navigational control and support to emergencies.

The PLA has now signed a contract with Ecocats Limited to build two new patrol launches. The novel design of the Ecocat hull will allow patrolling and, when necessary, high speed response to be made with a substantial reduction in wash wave height and energy, compared to existing patrol launches. This helps the PLA to serve river users better in the upper tidal Thames and also conserves the environment of the river. The PLA commissioned a special research project on vessel wash by Southampton University prior to placing the order.

The new craft will enable closer communication with rowers, canoeists and others in small craft. The Ecocats design helps achieve this with an island wheelhouse/open deck layout; bulwark doors on both sides; and a stern access platform. This layout will also help the management of regatta safety and a variety of other river duties. The new vessels will also assist the PLA in its work following the navigational risk assessment in the upper tidal Thames, undertaken by the Salvage Association.

’EcoCats

The launches are being built at Ecocats’ boatyard in Torpoint, Cornwall, and the new mould for the 9.5m hull is a development of the existing Ecocat 28 ft catamaran. All aspects of the new launch design have taken conservation of the environment into consideration. Quite apart from their low wash characteristic, the new boats will use less than one third of the fuel of the existing launches. Wherever possible, the components and materials used in construction are being obtained to ensure sustainable sourcing and recyclability

Ecocats managing director, Henry Mayhew said ""Our concept is about designing out the environmental negatives of wash, emissions, and noise, while increasing high-speed response capability by 40% over the existing patrol boats. Vessel performance has been achieved through the selection of a catamaran hull form, dynamic modelling techniques and the availability of lightweight materials"".

The craft are due to enter service on the Thames in September 2006.






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