New vessel reflects shipping trends.

Lerwick Port Authority has placed an order for a new Pilotboat/tug designed to help handle the larger ships now increasingly using the Shetland port.

A contract, valued at approximately £1.8 million, has been signed this week with the Vestvaerftet shipyard, of Hvide Sande, Denmark, with delivery scheduled for April next year.

Port Authority Chief Executive, Allan Wishart, said: “The order for this vessel is another demonstration of our commitment to continue providing the high standards of facilities and services required by current and future port users. Her increased power will make a significant contribution to port operations.”

The vessel has been designed by naval architects, McCaig and Napier, Glasgow. Mr Maurice Napier also designed the Knab, built in Norway in 1980 and which the new vessel will replace.

The Port Authority boat crews and pilots, along with Harbourmaster, Captain Archer Kemp and Deputy Harbourmaster, Captain Calum Grains, have all been closely involved in developing the design.

While the 18.8 metre long Knab has a bollard pull of seven tonnes, the 20 metre replacement will have a bollard pull of 24 tonnes, similar to that of the much larger Kebister which has been in service at the port since 1990.

The increased power is required for operations in support of the new generation of shipping calling at Lerwick. The number of larger ships entering the port last year was a factor in the 14% rise in pilotage movements, including refrigerated reefer ships, oil-related vessels and cruise ships.

With a minimum crew of three, the new vessel’s primary function will be in pilotage, with towing capacity to assist berthing and a general workboat role in support of the Port Authority’s operations.

The Knab will be renamed before being sold, with the Port Authority retaining the name for possible future use.

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