Forth Ports orders new pilot boats

Forth Ports, the UK’s third largest port group, said it has placed an order for two new pilot boats to join its fleet working on the Forth and the Tay.

The two pilot boats have been designed in Scotland by Camarc Design and will be built this year by Holyhead Marine in Wales.

Forth Ports currently has five pilot boats and 11 tugs operating across the Forth and Tay.

“Pilot boats are important vessels on the river as they transport maritime pilots to the ships that need guided safely into port through the lock gates in Leith and Grangemouth, to a berth at a quayside in Dundee or Rosyth or to one of the deep-water anchorages in the River Forth,” said Forth Ports.

“As the statutory river authority for the Forth and Tay, Forth Ports marine team operate over an area of 280 square miles of navigable waters.”

The pilot boats are 16.6 metres long and are the most advanced boats in operation with an updated hull design and engines offering increased efficiency.

In the future, the engines would be capable of operating on HVO fuel (Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil) which could result in a C02 emission reduction of up to 90%.

Alan McPherson, Chief Harbour Master for Forth Ports’ Scottish operations, said: “It is important that we invest in our marine fleet to deliver the best service for river users and at the same time, decarbonise our vessels using the very latest engine technology.

“The Rivers Forth and Tay are two of the largest and busiest waterways in the UK with thousands of vessels using the rivers each year, ranging from very large offshore drilling rigs in Dundee, to container vessels heading to Grangemouth and cruise liners sailing into both rivers.

“We look forward to receiving the new pilot boats next year.”