SOUTHERN Ports has welcomed a new pilot to Bunbury for local testing and trials ahead of an official naming ceremony early next year.

Wardan was built by Aussie pilot-boat builder Hart Marine for the Port of Bunbury fleet.

Southern Ports and Hart Marine highlighted the vessel’s lightweight structure and resilience against harsh marine conditions.

“The arrival of Wardan into our port waters is a significant milestone for our marine team, who will take the pilot boat through testing, trials and training in the port setting before it commences operations,” Southern Ports CEO Keith Wilks said.

“The transfer of our marine pilots from a pilot boat to the visiting ships doesn’t always happen in smooth seas,” he said.

“It’s why a boat like Wardan, which is designed with a beak bow to provide a more stable platform for pilots to transfer, is a worthwhile investment.”

Hart Marine managing director Mal Hart said the company is committed to innovation, safety and excellence in pilot vessel construction.

Wardan is the perfect example of how we can bring together the technology at hand with the needs of our customer to deliver a great vessel,” he said.

“We know Wardan is in fantastic hands, and she’ll add incredible strength and performance to Southern Ports’ Port of Bunbury operations.”

Under command of Hart Marine, Wardan travelled 1900 nautical miles by sea from Mornington in Melbourne to Bunbury last week.

The pilot boat’s name Wardan is inspired by the sea water off Wardandi Country, after more than 800 entries were received into a community naming competition earlier this year.

The official naming ceremony for Wardan will take place in February where the eight winners of the naming competition will also have the opportunity to ride on the pilot boat.