19 meter (62 foot) Motor Surf Boat, Maybe a Small Port WPB Alternative

Earlier, when I discussed  developing a WPB replacement, I was primarily concerned that in addition to a SAR response, that the Coast Guard in major ports have a response to unconventional maritime attacks by terrorists or other hostile forces. But there are also a number of WPBs in small ports where such attacks would have far less impact and consequently are far less likely. The US shipbuilder Metal Shark has new 87 foot patrol boats in series production for Foreign Military Sales (FMS) that were evolved from the Marine Protector class. They might fulfill the needs of these smaller ports. They appear to be relatively cheap. Looks like the last group had a cost per boat of about $4.3M each. That is way less than the approx. $60M we are paying for the more capable FRCs. Still there might be a better alternative,

A recent Marine Log report that the EU is buying nine large motor lifeboats to help the Turkish Coast Guard deal with their immigrant crisis, got me to thinking that perhaps, at these small ports, what is really needed is a larger motor lifeboat. Specs for the Damen designed Turkish Coast Guard boats are here. They are apparently a version of the Netherlands own motor lifeboat.

Damen SAR 1906 motor surf boats

There has been a lot of work on development of Motor Surf Boats since the 47 footers and the now over 50 year old 52 footers. Canada and the Netherlands have both made such craft over 60 feet in length. The RAFNAR hull form looks particularly promising. They may not be more survivable than the ones we have now, but they may be better in other ways. Where we don’t need the long term endurance of a WPB, we could have a boat of about Marine Protector class size or perhaps some what smaller, that could operate with a smaller crew, be faster, tow equally large or larger vessels, reduce G-forces on the crew, and still be able to operate in weather where the legacy WPBs could not. There might also be Foreign Military Sales potential for such a vessel. 

RAFNAR Hull –A New Kind of Hull For Reduced Slamming

gCaptain had a report on this new hull form, which a University of Iceland study found reduced slamming as much as 95% compared to a deep-v hull. It explains the development of the hull, I needed more information to understand how it worked.

The company website has many much clearer photographs as well as the video above.

Claimed advantages are:

  • Exceptionally smooth and comfortable due to limited slam on waves.
  • Significantly reduced slamming results in less mechanical and equipment fatigue, extending the lifetime of expensive electronic equipment on board.
  • Greater on-board safety from significantly reduced slamming means reduced risk of injury, lower crew & passenger fatigue and related costs
  • Precision performance without compromising cruising or top speed.
  • Immediate handling response with no sliding
  • No wake created behind vessel, resulting in less water disturbance
  • Exceptional stability and balance when idle and at speed
  • High payload capacity without compromising cruising or top speed

Could this concept be scaled up for a Motor Surf Boat? Apparently the Icelandic Association for Search and Rescue is already looking into the possibility of a 15 meter (49 foot) MLB.

Thanks to Lee for bringing this to my attention

 

Video–“Coast Guard Readiness: How Far Can We Stretch Our Nation’s Only Multi-Mission, Military Force?”

Above is the video of the Senate Subcommittee hearing for which I provided the Commandant’s prepared remarks earlier.

Participating Senators I noted were:

  • Dan Sullivan, Sub-Committee chair (R, Alaska)(Lt.Col., US Marine Corps Reserve)
  • Gary Peters, ranking member (D, Michigan)(LCdr. US Navy Reserve, Supply Corps)
  • Bill Nelson, ranking member of the Commerce Committee (D, Florida)(Capt. US Army Reserve)(NASA Scuttle payload specialist)
  • Roger Wicker, Chairman of the Seapower sub-committee (R, Mississippi)(Lt.Col. ret. USAF reserve)
  • Richard Blumenthal (D, Connecticut) (USMC Reserve 1970 to 1976 discharges as Sargent)
  • Brian Schatz (D, Hawaii)
  • Ed Markey (D, Mass.) (Spec4, US Army Reserve, 1968-73)
  • Jim Inhofe (R, Oklahoma) (Spec4, US Army, 1956-1958)
  • Maria Cantwell (D, Washington)

You can also check out the original post from the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. (Same video is available there, but the meeting does not actually start on that version of the video until minute 36.) There you can also find the written statements of the other three witness who constituted the second panel. The Commandant was the sole witness on the first panel.

This was something of a love fest for the Coast Guard with repeated praise for the people and actions of the Coast Guard.

This hearing was reputedly about how the Coast Guard had been impacted by the unusually severe Hurricane season. There is not a lot new here but there were some interesting remarks.

Polar Icebreaker Contracts

The intention is to Contract for the first Icebreaker and then employ block buy for the next two (28m). To me this seems to negate most of the advantage of a block buy. I don’t believe we will or should buy one and then wait until we have tried it out before contracting for the next two. That would necessitate a delay of at least five years during which we would still have the nightmare scenario of our only heavy icebreaker having no rescue if it should break down in the ice–certainly not an impossibility even with a new ship. If we are going to contract for the remaining two before testing the first, we might as well block buy all three.

First of class is always the most expensive. If the shipyard gets a block buy they know that initial improvements in productivity can be amortized over the entire block buy quantity. In some cases, in order to win the whole project, the shipyard will cut the price of the first ship substantially knowing they will make a profit over the entire project.

If we buy one and then block buy the second and third, we have paid for improvements to the winning yard with the first contract and minimized the chances for a competitive bid for numbers two and three.

Legislation has capped DOD participation in icebreaker procurement, so the bulk of icebreaker procurement costs will come out of the Coast Guard budget.

Authorization

There was a lot of discussion about the need to have the Coast Guard Authorization Bill signed into law, still not approved. You can see it here.

Other topics

There was a discussion of the high cost of the Coast Guard response to the recent series of Hurricanes.

Representative Sullivan spent a lot of time, discussing and advocating for an eleven mile road from King Cove  (population estimate–989) to Cold Bay, Alaska (population estimate–122) which has an all-weather airport with two runways, one 10,180 feet and one 6285 feet in length. The Coast Guard connection is that the road would minimize or eliminate the necessity for the Coast Guard to Medivac emergencies from King Cove by helicopter, which is frequently hazardous. It is a Federal issue, because the road would run through a Federal reserve. The Commandant fully supported the desirability of completing the proposed single lane gravel road as a means of minimizing the requirement for helicopter medivac.

Video Breakdown

28m Domestic icebreakers–Design work on new domestic icebreakers is expected to start in 2030. That sounds a bit late to me. Mackinaw was commissioned in 2006 so if that is what he is really talking about, that makes sense, but the 140 foot icebreaking tugs are a different story. The first for of these will be 51 years old in 2030. More than  half of them have already completed in-service which was expected to add 15 years to their service life. Morro Bay, at least, is expected to reach the end of her service life in 2030, and considering how long it takes us to build a ship we really need to start the process not later than 2025.

45m Western Pacific Fisheries Protection–They have not seen much risk of Illegal, Unregulated, or Unreported fishing. 

51m Inland River Tenders

56m We may need to replace the 52 ft MLBs with something larger than the 47 foot MLB sometime in the future, but their end of life is not yet apparent

58m Coast Guard Museum in New London

60m Sexual Assault in the CG

1h02m Puerto Rico/Virgin Islands continuing commitment and its effects on drug seizures and alien migrant interdiction.

1h05m Vessel homeporting

1h08 CG center of expertise, particularly in regard to clean up spills in ice and fresh water

1h16m Army Corp of Engineers dredging backlog.

1h17m  Second Panel begins.

1h19m Medivac from King Cove

1h31m Mr Smithson regarding Deepwater Horizon experience, unified approach, investment in mitigation.

 

1120 Miles Averaging 52.3 knots and Its Self Righting

MarineLog reports in part:

JULY 27, 2016 — The SAR 60, an 18 m high-speed search and rescue vessel prototype, set a new “Round Italy” record, July 12, completing the nearly 1,120 nautical mile voyage from Montecarlo to Venice in 22 hours, 5 minutes and 42 seconds, at an average speed of 52.3 knots.

The 18 meter boat was piloted by its designer, Fabio Buzzi, and built in his Annone Brianza, Italy, FB Design shipyard.

The boat, which has a near 60 knots top speed is powered by two 1,600 HP MTU 10V 2000M94 engines equipped with an additional “rough sea kit” that enables safe operation in the most extreme conditions.

The video above may be a bit confusing at first. Unfortunately it is in Italian. It includes more than one type of boat and record speed runs by the two different boat types reported in the MarineLog post. The boat that appears above, before you start the video, is not the one we are talking about, but once you get into it, it will be easy enough to recognize the 59 foot SAR60.

You can see the self righting experiment at 1m54s on the video.

There is also an interesting  demonstration of a way to recover a helpless person in the water at 2m45s.

Laser Hazard–This is Getting Rediculous

The Coast Guard has recently experience a rash of laser attacks.

Dec.1, an H-65 from Port Angeles. “A Coast Guard helicopter crew was forced to cut a training mission short after they were targeted by someone with a laser near Port Angeles Monday night…The MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew was airborne when a laser was shined at them around 6:30 p.m, forcing the crew to abort the mission and return immediately to Air Station Port Angeles, where they landed safely.”

1 Dec. an H-65 from Traverse City. “On Monday at 8:30 p.m., a Coast Guard MH-65 helicopter with Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City, Michigan, was hit with a laser while flying in the vicinity of Lake Okeechobee, Florida. Crewmembers aboard the aircraft reported the laser came from land.”

3 Dec. “…a 45-foot motor lifeboat crew at Coast Guard Station Channel Islands that four of the members were struck twice with a laser while transiting near the Channel Islands Harbor entrance. Crewmembers reported that the laser came from shore and once they energized their blue law-enforcement light, the laser desisted.”

Fortunately there were apparently no injuries.

As noted in the one of the press releases, “Pointing a laser at an aircraft is a federal crime and a felony offense under Title 18, United States Code, Section 39A. If found guilty, offenders could be fined up to $250,000 and sentenced to five years in prison. ”

Don’t know what the punishment for pointing a laser at a boat crew is, but it should also be significant.

CG 36500, Bernie Webber’s Boat, Lives On

The Finest Hours

The Boston Globe has a nice post about the now 69 year old, 36 foot, wooden hull, motor surfboat Bernie Webber and his pick-up crew used to rescue 32 crew members trapped on the stern of an oil tanker, SS Pendleton, that had broken in half in a storm, and the people who restored and care for it.

The story of this rescue was told in a book and is being made into a movie.

I have it on good authority that the organization that maintains the boat could use some support.

Motor Surf Boats

gCaptain is featuring some photos of a 48 foot pilot and SAR boat, designed and built by Safehaven Marine of Cork, Irish Republic, in many ways similar to the Coast Guard’s own 47 foot motor lifeboat. A notable difference is that this vessel appears to have a rescue platform on the stern rather than the stepdowns built into the sides of the 47 footers.

The manufacture of the boat has some great photos of this and other boats they make in some very impressive severe weather conditions, along with links to video.

Looks like Cork is Europe’s version of Cape Disappointment.

Interestingly they also make a larger 55/56 foot boat like the one in the video above as well.