Forth Ports to welcome two pilot boats to join the fleet on the Rivers Forth and Tay

19/02/2024
An image of the new pilot boat

FORTH Ports, the UK’s third largest port group, has placed an order for two new pilot boats to join their fleet working on the Rivers Forth and Tay. The investment in the vessels to work on the busy waterways will see the arrival next year of the next generation of pilot boats built by Holyhead Marine.

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. 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 two pilot boats have been designed in Scotland by Camarc Design and will be built this year by Holyhead Marine in Wales. 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%. [**NB: further tech info is listed below]

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.” 

Forth Ports currently has 5 pilot boats and 11 tugs operating across the River Forth and Tay.

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