PROUDLY named ‘Port of Lairge’ the new pilot boat, which was commissioned in 2019, was received recently by the Port of Waterford crew at the Dunmore East pontoon.
The state-of-the-art vessel is a 15-metre interceptor and was christened ‘Port Lairge’ after a much-loved steam-powered dredger, which served on the Suir for over 70 years until the 1980s.
Port of Waterford currently operates two pilot boats — one based in Dunmore East at the primary boarding position and one in Passage East. The new vessel replaces the ‘Dun Mor’, a purpose-built pilot boat, designed and built in 1996.
The new all-weather boat will provide safer working conditions for pilotage personnel. The vessel is self-righting and capable of recovering if capsized by a large breaking wave.
Taking delivery of the new vessel, Captain Darren Doyle, Harbourmaster, Port of Waterford, said: “We, along with the maritime community here in Waterford, are delighted with the new addition to the fleet of Port vessels.
The pilot crew is highly skilled and it requires a state-of-the-art vessel
“The work of the pilot crew is highly skilled and it requires a state-of-the-art vessel to ensure that this work can be carried out year-round in all weather conditions.”
Piloting the new vessel on her maiden voyage to the pontoon at Dunmore East following the completion of her sea trials was boatbuilder Frank Kowalski, MD of Safehaven Marine in Youghal. She is the 48th pilot boat Safehaven have supplied to ports globally.
‘Port Lairge’ is powered by a pair of Scania D13 500hp engines, has an operational speed of over 25 knots and can carry five pilots and two crew in comfort. The vessel will be berthed at the Pontoon in Dunmore East. The new vessel also offers a reduction in fuel emissions and is a more sustainable boat for the Port of Waterford.