Ship stuff three, Boats

One of the noticeable developments in the evolution of the catamaran  CTV (Crew Transfer Vessel) was the increase in engine power and hence the physical size of the engines installed. Initially, at the dawn of the offshore windpower in the UK (2005), the first fast cat CTVs were powered with twin  diesels of around 400 BHP (280kW) each but by 2011 they were squeezing twin 1300 BHP (910kW) units into the slim and arguably flimsy aluminium hulls.

It’s worth noting that the majority of CTVs from the smallest to those up to 28 metres in length and regardless of installed horse-power, are limited to 12 passengers by UK regulation (unless the CTV is run as a  non-‘small vessel code’ ship). The available deadweight for cargo carrying capacity is bigger in the larger vessels however.

These larger engines, when installed into slender catamaran hulls, only just fitted in the space available. There was often very little room on either side of each engine to allow visual inspection or access of any kind. This did not encourage ready physical monitoring (as opposed to instrumentation) by the vessel crews in the same way that readily accessible plant would.  It made maintenance and filter changing a bit of a nightmare in some vessels. The result was often that ‘silly’ things like a loose filler caps or blocked vent pipes went un-noticed resulting in a total shut down of the main plant at the most in-opportune time.

The following photos will attempt to demonstrate just how ‘tight’ these CTV machinery spaces have become. They were all taken by allatsea during the construction phases of the London Array windfarm (175 turbines) and Thanet windfarm (100 turbines).

March 2011. Typical aluminium hulled catamaran CTV seen from astern. The is one engine in each hull (aft).

March 2011. Typical aluminium hulled catamaran CTV seen from astern. There is one engine in each hull (aft).

A 1000 BHP MTU diesel (if I remember correctly) squeeded into the hull. This is the view through the access hatch on the weather deck.

A 1000 BHP MTU diesel (if I remember correctly) squeeded into the hull. This is the view through the access hatch on the weather deck. Note the proximity of the bulkhead to the air inlet.

Another crammed 'engine room'. They also become very very warm in operation.
Another crammed ‘engine room’. They also become very very warm in operation.

Another view of the engine space pictured previously. Very tight, too tight in my humble opinion.

Another view of the engine space pictured previously. Very tight, too tight in my humble opinion.

The fore and aft alleyway in a cat's hull. One of the bigger cats too. Not much room but bright enough to see what you're up to.

The fore and aft alleyway in a cat’s hull. One of the bigger cats too. Not much room but bright enough to see what you’re up to. This view from a two man cabin fitted with narrow bunks and no washing facilities. The space between the cabin and the machinery space is the fuel tank.  Twenty thousand litres of gas oil as a neighbour. A lovely arrangement???

The passenger areas however tended to be light, airy and relatively spacious. Pax not wearing seat belts and being thrown out of their seats in lumpy conditions occurred too often. It was noticeable that these accidents normally happened to the more 'cognitively challenged' members of the construction teams.
The passenger areas however tended to be light, airy and relatively spacious. Pax not wearing seat belts and being thrown out of their seats in lumpy conditions occurred too often. It was noticeable that these incidents normally involved the more ‘cognitively challenged’ members of the construction teams.

The control position on a 2012 built CTV. All very 'Star Trek' and wonderful. However put a very tired skipper into the mix, add a touch of lumpiness and the potential for collision catastrophe was ever present.

The control position on a 2012 built CTV. All very ‘Star Trek’ and wonderful. However put a very tired skipper into the seat, add forty or more other vessels operating within the same site and the potential for collision catastrophe was ever-present.

Not a CTV in this case but this is what happens when a dodgy and greedy ship owner is allowed to run un-checked and with poor (fishing) industry invigilation. Bless.

Not a CTV in this case but this is what happens when a less than ‘compliant’ ship owner is allowed to run un-checked  with poor (fishing) industry inspection regimes. A big fail. Bless.

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