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Metal Shark delivers two boats to Virgin Islands Port Authority

Apr 24, 2018 09:22 AM

The Louisiana builder supplies a 45-foot Defiant-class pilot boat and 32-foot patrol boat

The pilot boat George Freeman

Courtesy Metal Shark

The pilot boat George Freeman

The following is text of a news release from Metal Shark:

(JEANERETTE, La.) — Louisiana-based shipbuilder Metal Shark has delivered two new custom welded aluminum vessels to the Virgin Islands Port Authority (VIPA).

The vessels, designed by Metal Shark and built at the company’s Jeanerette, La., production facility, were recently delivered to St. Thomas and transferred to VIPA. Both vessels are now operating from the Edward Wilmoth Blyden IV Marine Facility on the Charlotte Amalie waterfront where they serve the island of St. Thomas and also nearby St. John.

The new pilot boat is a 45-foot Defiant-class monohull with a military-proven hull design and a unique deck arrangement specifically designed for pilot operations.

The vessel’s climate-controlled pilothouse features Metal Shark’s "pillarless glass” for significantly improved visibility, in a reverse-raked arrangement developed by Metal Shark with input from numerous pilot groups. Visibility is further augmented by the vessel’s elevated, centerline helm position. Large opening side and aft pilothouse windows and a wireless crew communication headset system facilitate crew coordination during pilot transfers, and large overhead skylights provide upward visibility while approaching and operating alongside moving ships.

Fully flush non-skid decks allow for unimpeded access around the vessel, and hand rails have been placed within easy reach of all crew, inside the cabin and outside on deck. Low-level LED pathway lighting enhances safety during nighttime operation. The vessel’s large swim platform, plus easily accessible Jason’s cradle, dive ladder, and throwable life rings, are intended to assure quick and safe crew retrieval in the event of a man-overboard situation.

Powered by twin Cummins Marine QSM11 diesel engines coupled with Hamilton HJ322 waterjets, the 45 Defiant demonstrates high maneuverability while delivering a cruise speed in excess of 30 knots and a top speed in the 40-knot range. A urethane-sheathed, closed-cell foam Wing collar provides durable and resilient fendering. Shock-mitigating seating has been provided for a crew of five, and anti-fatigue floor covering has been provided in the pilothouse and the below-decks crew spaces. Additional features include a galley, enclosed head compartment, v-berth, and large walk-in mid-cabin storage compartment.

VIPA has named its new pilot boat George Freeman in honor of its first coxswain, George Elwin Freeman Sr., who worked for VIPA for 33 years until his passing in 2000.

For its new port security patrol boat, VIPA selected Metal Shark’s 32-foot Defiant, a patrol platform with over 100 units in military and law enforcement service worldwide.

Funded in part by a U.S. Port Security Grant, the vessel has been outfitted with a positive-pressure chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and high-yield explosive (CBRNE) crew protection system to assure safe and uninterrupted operation in a wide range of disaster response scenarios.

Like its larger 45-foot pilot boat sibling, VIPA’s 32-foot port security boat features Metal Shark’s pillarless pilothouse glass to significantly reduce blind spots compared to conventional pilothouse designs which use smaller, framed windows. Shock-mitigating seating has been provided for a crew of 4 inside the vessel’s climate-controlled cabin.

Powered by twin Evinrude E-TEC G2 300HP outboard engines, VIPA’s 32 Defiant port security vessel cruises at 35 knots and achieves top speeds approaching 50 knots.

Click here to view a video of George Freeman.

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