SOUTH Australian ports operator Flinders Port Holdings has placed in service Spirit, the first of three state-of-the-art pilot boats built by Hart Marine.

Spirit was inaugurated today (7 February) at an event at the South Australian Yacht Squadron.

The vessel features the Volvo Penta Inboard Propulsion System, which will enhance fuel efficiency, reduce environmental footprint and improve sustainability, FPH and Hart say.

Spirit incorporates advanced composite hull technology, including a lightweight and corrosion-resistant structure that is durable in the harshest marine conditions. Its bow design facilitates smooth navigation in turbulent waters and improved self-righting capabilities.

There are improved safety measures such as continuous railing, and a longer (17.3-metre) hull provides FPH pilots and crew with additional room on the outer deck for pilot transfer and coxswain activities.  The introduction of dynamic positioning into the pilot vessel fleet will improve the manoeuvring of the vessel in adverse weather conditions.

Further innovations include the ability to access data to optimise the operation of the engine and driveline. This feature allows for real-time exchange of vessel performance and consumption data, allowing FPH to assist in further reduction of emissions.

General manager Carl Kavina said FPH appreciated working alongside Hart Marine, based on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula, to build its fleet of energy-efficient and technologically-advanced pilot vessels.

“These cutting-edge vessels are introducing innovative technologies and supporting us to meet our sustainability targets with a tangible focus on reducing fuel emissions now and into the future,” Mr Kavina said.

“Working with Hart Marine, which aligns with our vision for greater sustainability, improved safety and the ability to harness the latest technological features, is very important to us and we appreciate the relationship we’re building.”

Hart Marine is due to deliver FPH’s second and third pilot boats in 2024.