A LANDING craft deigned and built in Australia has been delivered to the Great Barrier Reef Joint Field Management Program.

The 21-metre-long Island Guardian was was constructed by Norman R. Wright & Sons in Queensland and designed by Incat Crowther.

The businesses designed and built the vessel to enhance research, incident response and management of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage area.

The vessel was built for transportation of equipment and vehicles to remote areas of the reef. It can carry up to 7.5 tonnes of deck cargo.

The Great Barrier Reef Joint Field Management Program is delivered jointly by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, part of the Department of Environment and Science. 

Tony Riek of Norman R. Wright & Sons said Island Guardian performed “flawlessly” on sea trials.

“The successful build involved use of our lightweight construction techniques and high standard of build quality,” he said.

“The package delivered by Incat Crowther streamlined the physical shipbuilding process and delivered on a very complex set of parameters. We are very pleased to achieve such a successful outcome for the client.”

Incat Crowther technical manager Dan Mace said the brief from the Great Barrier Reef Joint Field Management Program was a complex, but exciting one.

“The challenge was to deliver a vessel with several unique elements to enable it to operate safely and efficiently in one of the most pristine environments in the world.”

Mr Mace said the goal was to design a low-draft vessel that could deliver valuable cargo on high-speed transits in rough seas, land on a range of beaches and boat ramps and support rescue and recovery missions while minimising environmental impact.

“Our team collaborated closely with the client to achieve this, and we are pleased that the customer is incredibly happy with the final product.”

Cargo loading on Island Guardian is facilitated by a bi-folding vehicle ramp on the bow. The vessel can land on gradients such as beaches or boat ramps.

The deck crane has the ability to lift a payload of 680 kilograms at a 7.5 metre radius. Incat Crowther said Island Guardian can safely rescue and release marine life weighing up to 600 kilograms.

The vessel has a cruising speed of 20 knots and travel at a speed of up to 25 knots. It can transport up to 24 personnel in addition to its cargo.