Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Transatlantic Crossing

 It may be the first time that a "multi-cat" type vessel has made an unassisted transatlantic crossing. Even if it is not the first, today's arrival (August 24) of Tidal Pioneer is a notable one. The small workboat, measuring only 26m x 11m, and rectangular in shape, sailed from Rotterdam August 5. After a stop in the Azores, it resumed its voyage August 15 and sailed through the tail of Post Tropical Storm Henri before arriving in Halifax this morning.

Built on strictly utilitarian lines, the vessel has a square "bow" with push knees, large working deck, open from  bow to stern, with wheelhouse offset to starboard, a small superstructure and exhaust stacks to port, and a pair of cranes - one forward and one aft. 

This type of vessel, commonly called a "multicat", although that is a trademark, is popular world wide, but still rare in North America. Dominion Diving's Dominion Warrior was the first to be seen in these parts, and it arrived from Europe on a heavy lift ship in 2018. 

Tidal Pioneer is owned by Sustainable Marine Energy, the Scottish/Canadian company that has developed floating tidal power generators. It is currently commissioning the Grand Passage project, between Digby Neck and Brier Island, Nova Scotia. The floating platform has been built by A.F.Theriault + Sons, Meteghan River, NS, and equipped with tidal turbines built by Schottel. Seabed anchors and undersea power cable work are scheduled for completion this summer. Presumably Tidal Pioneer will be used in the construction and servicing of the installation.

Tidal Pioneer was initially laid down in 2019 by Neptune Shipyard in Aalst, Netherlands as their hull number 556 then fitted out and completed for SME earlier this year. Neptune's multi-purpose vessels are called "Eurocarrier" and Tidal Pioneer appears to be based on the 2611 standard design, with many modifications to suit the specific needs of SME. It is a twin screw vessel, of 2600 bhp.

Registered in Canada July 2, it was reflagged to Belize for the delivery trip. This is standard procedure for ship delivery companies. They are contracted by means of a charter arrangement, and use experienced delivery crews, mostly from the Netherlands. These crews also perform warrantee monitoring, break in procedures and other work during the delivery voyage. They must also be a hardy breed of seafarer to withstand a transatlantic voyage like this one.


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