New $1.5 million launch for PPSP

PORT Phillip Sea Pilots this week placed an order for a new $1.5 million pilot launch with Chivers Marine in Western Australia.

PPSP’s managing director Captain Charles Griffiths said: “The vessel is similar in appearance to our other 16.5 metre launch but is stronger and faster.”

He said the pilots had worked with Chivers Marine to ensure the new craft was “bullet proof:” to enable it to easily withstand the continual pounding it will get once it starts operating in Port Phillip heads.

“The extra frames and bulkheads as compared to our last launch will add an extra two tons to the weight.

“However, Cummins diesel have produced more horsepower from the engines, which will result in a 31-knot service speed.

“Even though the Victorian government has not advised us of their intentions once our license expires on 30 June, it is essential that we maintain a top-quality boarding system to ensure there is no disruption to shipping.

“Once again helicopters were given serious consideration, but it was felty that due to future uncertainties the capital could not be justified.”

Earlier this week, Captain Griffiths told DCN the pilots had expected that the Asian crisis would affect their business, but up to now it has been business as usual.

“It’s amazing, I thought there would have been a downturn at the end of last year. And the first two months of this years have seen no change either – not even a hiccup.”

However, while the number of vessels had remained unchanged, “the draft of the ships are going up” and if this trend continued he believed “liner trades will have to cut service back because they cant come here empty.”