VICTORIAN builder Hart Marine has delivered its latest ORC-type pilot boat to Port Phillip Sea Pilots at Queenscliff following successful sea trials.

Named Torquay, 17.3-metre launch replaces PPSP’s Corsair which was lost after striking Point Lonsdale Reef at Port Phillip Heads near midnight on 5 October 2023, while returning to PPSP’s Queenscliff base after collecting a pilot from an outbound vessel. The pilot vessel was a total loss.

Thanks to co-operation between Flinders Port Holdings, Hart Marine and PPSP an agreement was reached “to novate the purchase and acquisition” of the second of three new pilot boats ordered by FPH, over to PPSP. Flinders Ports will still receive three boats from Hart Marine but allowed PPSP their allocated second build slot to enable PPSP a quicker and earlier replacement of Corsair.

Hart said the newbuild not only underscored PPSP’s confidence in the ORC pilot vessel’s capabilities but also the solid partnership and trust they have in the builder’s craftsmanship and commitment to quality. 

The success of the recent Spirit pilot boat built for FPH (DCN 7 February) surpassed expectations at the South Australian port, Hart said. As a result, PPSP chose the same specifications for Torquay.

Equipped with the advanced Marfle fuel monitoring system, the vessel relays real-time engine telemetry and fuel data to the fleet manager, facilitating agile decision-making. This configuration has exceeded operational expectations and is rapidly becoming a highly sought-after specification for pilot boat operations, Hart says. Torquay is PPSP’s first launch with the integrated Volvo IPS system, a state-of-the-art technology resulting in some of the most fuel-efficient pilot launches on the water. 

PPSP MD Capt Mike Hanson said he wanted to acknowledge FPH and their support providing flexibility in their build schedule “to allow for the record turnaround of our project to ensure seamless supply of piloting services in Australia’s busiest port. We’d also like to show our appreciation for Hart who were crucial in the facilitating the collaboration between the three entities ensuring a seamless delivery in record time.

“For 185 years, PPSP has been leading the way in marine pilotage. With Hart Marine’s industry-leading technology and innovation, today we’re leading the way to sustainable, more fuel-efficient pilotage operations that significantly reduce our carbon footprint,” Capt Hanson said. “This new launch marks Port Phillip Sea Pilots’ seventh partnership with Hart Marine and a giant leap forward in meeting our sustainability targets”.