Overheid investeert 100 miljoen euro in de kustwacht

Ook wordt financieel stevig ingezet op nieuwe schepen, vliegtuigen en helikopters. Varend en vliegend materieel wordt via een leaseconstructie afgenomen van de Rijksrederij en commerciële partijen.

Het Kustwachtcentrum heeft ook groen licht om het aantal medewerkers met de helft uit te breiden tot ruim zeventig.

De forse investeringen zijn volgens directeur Ronald Blok van Kustwacht Nederland nodig om de veiligheid op het Nederlandse deel van de Noordzee blijvend te waarborgen.

Vanuit Den Helder worden niet alle reddingsacties op zee in goede banen geleid. Ook wordt met diensten als politie, marechaussee, douane en Nederlandse Voedsel- en Waren Autoriteit (NVWA) gecontroleerd op onder meer illegale visserij, milieu- delicten en smokkel op zee.

In de Toekomstvisie 2020 is aangegeven dat het takenpakket op de Noordzee steeds groter, ingewikkelder en internationaler van opzet wordt.

Aanleg van megawindparken op zee beperkt de manoeuvreerruimte voor steeds grotere containerschepen. Door de Brexit komt de Europese buitengrens op de Noordzee te liggen. Dat legt een zwaarder beslag op grensbewaking, aldus Blok.

Malta Maritime Pilots to invest €3 million in new training facility

Source: Malta Maritime Pilots to invest €3 million in new training facility

The Malta Maritime Pilots will be investing €3 million in a new maritime training facility in Hal Far.

Transport and Infrastructure Minister Ian Borg made the announcement on Wednesday morning at a maritime conference.

The new centre, branded as MaritimeMT, seeks to offer a “holistic approach that targets all the maritime sector and will include both seafarers and shore-based personnel.”

Borg said that the strong growth in this industry could not take place without modernization and a growing work force.

The new facility will be replacing the old one, which can no longer cater for the growing demand which is increasingly diversified.

The new facility will have new courses creating opportunities for individuals seeking a maritime career, Borg said.

Accredited courses will be provided, including those relevant for cruise ships, superyachts, merchant shipping as well as the shore-based side of the industry. The courses meet the competency standards of the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW).

Ship-handling training on MaritimeMT’s state-of-the-art DNV-certified Full Mission Bridge Simulators complete with ARPA and ECDIS systems will also be provided.

Chief Pilot Captain Jesmond Mifsud said that “the maritime sector is vital for the Maltese economy and its contribution to GDP will soon reach 14 per cent. The maritime sector means investment employment opportunities. MaritimeMT will provide the necessary training for existing mariners and individuals aspiring to work in the maritime sector. The Maltese Maritime Pilots’ philosophy has always worked hand in hand with all those involved in the sector, with the aim of developing excellence.”

Construction work on the new training facility in Hal Far has already started and the new facilities are planned to be ready by the beginning of 2019.

Tanker’s Hull Ripped in Collision off New York

Source: Tanker’s Hull Ripped in Collision off New York

The 115,340 dwt tanker Tofteviken suffered an approximate 30-foot gash along its portside hull in a collision on May 12.

The ship, owned by Norway’s Viken Shipping, collided with the commercial fishing vessel Polaris some 30 miles southeast of Bridgehampton, New York, according to the US Coast Guard.

At the time, the 2005-built Tofteviken was transiting to New York while the Polaris was transiting back to its homeport in Massachusetts after a night of fishing.

There were no reports of injuries aboard the ships following the incident.


The 84-foot Polaris suffered damage to its bow and outrigger, but managed to return to its homeport safely.

The tanker will remain anchored until the Coast Guard determines it’s safe to continue into port after investigating and reviewing class reports.

Relevant authorities are investigating the cause of the collision and assessing the damage to the Tofteviken’s hull.

Maine Maritime Academy training ship to sail for European ports

Source: Maine Maritime Academy training ship to sail for European ports

The Maine Maritime Academy training ship State of Maine gets under way on its annual training cruise with an assist from the academy tug Pentagoet in this May 2015 photo. FILE PHOTO

CASTINE — The Maine Maritime Academy training ship State of Maine is scheduled to sail on its summer training cruise Thursday afternoon, May 10, carrying 246 students and some 50 faculty, ships crew and support staff on first leg of the ship’s annual training cruise.

This year’s itinerary includes scheduled visits to Cadiz, Spain; Rotterdam, Netherlands; Lisbon, Portugal; Civitavecchia, Italy; and Alicante, Spain, before returning to Maine in July.

According to sea time and instruction required by the international Standards for Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW) convention, the total cruise length is 70 days. Students pursuing an officer’s license from the U.S. Coast Guard as a third mate or third assistant engineer are now required to train at sea for at least 300 days during their first three years at the academy. Freshmen and juniors sail aboard the State of Maine while sophomores are assigned to merchant ships worldwide.

The first phase of the cruise will carry 169 freshmen, 49 junior year student engineers and 28 junior year student deck officer candidates. On June 10, another cadre of 49 student engineers will join the ship in Lisbon and replace their classmates.

Engineering students are also participating in a five-day shoreside training session either before or after the training cruise.

In past years, MMA training cruises have taken students to Aruba, Bermuda, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Estonia, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Malta, Poland, Puerto Rico and Russia, as well as other European, Caribbean and U.S. destinations.

Under the command of Captain Leslie B. Eadie III, the educational cruise began in port last Sunday with pre-sailing preparation. Eadie, of Brewer, is a 1976 graduate of the academy. He assumed command of the State of Maine in 2011.

Well-wishers are welcome, and may view the ship’s departure and return from the MMA waterfront or via webstream at mainemaritime.edu/streaming. Friends, family, and fans are invited to follow the ship’s journey through the cruise blog at cruise.mainemaritime.edu.

The ship will host the traditional family day sail on the final leg of the voyage between Searsport and Castine on Saturday, July 14. For that section of the trip, second-class students (juniors) may invite their parents aboard. The daysail allows parents an opportunity to see the level of technical proficiency and leadership their daughters and sons have achieved. Training cruise activities will continue in port through Monday, July 16.

The 500-foot, 16,000-ton State of Maine, originally commissioned as the USNS Tanner, served as a Navy oceanographic research vessel before being converted in 1997 to accommodate the training needs of the college. This is the fourth MMA training ship to bear the name State of Maine.

Is it a ship or a network?

Is it a ship or a network? The Strategist (blog) Full coverage

Source: Is it a ship or a network?

The government is weighing up its options when it comes to the anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capability requirements for the forthcoming decision on Project SEA 5000—the multi-billion dollar future frigate project.

The proliferation of submarines in the Indo-Pacific certainly warrants close attention being paid to this decision. For starters, we need a clear understanding that ASW is about much more than just what can be expected from one ship, no matter how sophisticated the fit-out. But who understands this esoteric field?

For many of us, the Cold War thriller starring Sean Connery, The Hunt for Red October, and the German-language movie set in World War II, Das Boot, conjure up the classic image of how submarines are hunted. The hunt is as much about human acumen—the ship captain versus the submarine captain—as it is about technological capability.

The image, often enough, is one of ships with sonars and depth charges chasing submarines while the submarines maintain their stealth until they fire a torpedo (or missile).

Necessity is the mother of invention, we’re told, and wartime necessity drove a spiral of development in detection technology and countermeasures in a ‘hider–finder’ competition. The development of surface electromagnetic detection was followed by sonar and other acoustic and magnetic-anomaly detection systems that, when combined, limited the effectiveness of submarine attacks.

But times have changed. The one-on-one hunter–killer scenario we sometimes think of from World War II or early in the Cold War is no longer what can be expected.

Now, submarines are even harder to detect and, as a result, the World War II concept of a single ship hunting a submarine is of limited utility. That’s because—in the case of a one-on-one situation, with only on-board sensors available to conduct detection work—the submarine would always have an advantage.

Building on evolved capabilities, ASW today involves coordinating a suite of networked sonar and electromagnetic sensors aloft, on the surface and underwater to detect, track, deter and potentially attack hostile submarines.

Active sonar is important to detect submarine threats within range, but also to degrade the submarine’s effectiveness since it will wish to stay out of detection range. Passive sonar has some merits, but a modern submarine will almost always have a detection range advantage over a ship.

Modern-day ASW harnesses a disparate array of complementary technologies installed on a variety of underwater, surface and aerial platforms that, when combined, provide a form of corroboration—or triangulation—to identify what’s otherwise an increasingly stealthy platform.

This means that ASW today isn’t the purview of a single ship performing blue-ocean searches for the wayward submarine. Anti-submarine warfare is based on coordinating sonar and electromagnetic sensors from aircraft, helicopters and ships, as well as a range of semi-autonomous, unattended systems, to detect and track their targets.

This networking of capabilities is known as sensor netting and cooperative engagement. The key role of an ASW ship is to protect the other surface vessels working as part of a team. Its greatest value in that regard is its presence, in particular its optimised sensors and multi-mission capability.

The variety of assets available not only helps to provide complementarity, but also allows for a degree of redundancy of sensors. In an age of emergent swarms of platforms, networked weapon systems and the rise of artificial intelligence, there’s added urgency for plans to be developed that take this complexity into account.

What this means is that cutting-edge ASW is basically moving from being largely platform-intensive to being based around a wide range of orchestrated assets operating as a networked array of systems working with a common purpose.

What is more, nowadays the requirement isn’t so much to be able to detect and possibly defeat a potentially adversarial submarine. Rather, particularly in scenarios short of declared war—as has been the case in many post–World War II conflicts to date—the ASW force must be able to constrain the freedom of action available to adversary submarines and, in effect, to scare them away and thus render them ineffective.

The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) and the Australian Defence Force (ADF) should be mindful of the complex and complementary array of sensors and related skills required for effective ASW operations. And when picking an appropriate ASW platform, decision-makers should be mindful of the suite of complementary elements that constitute a modern ASW capability.

There are implications arising from these observations for the future frigate decision. The chosen vessel needs to be seen not just as a stand-alone platform, but as part of a networked suite of capabilities, including those found in other naval platforms and in other armed services, coalition forces and other national technical collection means. It must not be only interoperable with the wider RAN and ADF, but also able to operate with various new and emerging systems such as aerial and underwater drones in future years.

John Blaxland is Professor of International Security and Intelligence Studies and head of the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre at the Australian National University. Image courtesy RP Defense.

Royal Navy Receives First Unmanned Minesweeping System

Royal Navy Receives First Unmanned Minesweeping System Second Line of Defense Full coverage

Source: Royal Navy Receives First Unmanned Minesweeping System

Recently, an autonomous minesweeper system that can safely clear sea lanes of mines has been delivered to the Royal Navy.

According to a news story on the UK Ministry of Defence websitepublished May 5, 2018, the arrival of the new capability was announced.

Following a period of successful trials the demonstrator system could go on to be used by the Royal Navy in the future to defeat the threat of modern digital mines.

The system has been designed and manufactured by Atlas Elektronik UK in Dorset, under a £13 million contract with the Ministry of Defence which has sustained around 20 jobs and created 15 new jobs with the company.

Defence Minister Guto Bebb said:

“This autonomous minesweeper takes us a step closer to taking our crews out of danger and allowing us to safely clear sea lanes of explosives, whether that’s supporting trade in global waters and around the British coastline, or protecting our ships and shores. Easily transported by road, sea and air, the high-tech design means a small team could put the system to use within hours of it arriving in theatre. We are investing millions in innovative technology now, to support our military of the future.”

The system’s innovative and modernised technology has the ability to defeat today’s digital sea mines which can detect and target military ships passing overhead. The sweeper system, which features a “sense and avoid” capability, could also work together with other similar autonomous systems for the common goal of making our waters safer.

The project also aims to demonstrate the viability of an unmanned system that can safely and successfully clear mines and which is designed to be operated from a land or ship-based control station and can be deployed from a suitable ship or port.

Over the last four months, the system has been put through its paces by Atlas Elektronik and Defence Equipment and Support team members and the Royal Navy’s Maritime Autonomous Systems Trials Team (MASTT).

The system was tested against a number of performance requirements, for example, how well it cleared mines, whether the autonomous system could successfully avoid obstacles and the overall system performance.

Brigadier Jim Morris Royal Marines – Assistant Chief of the Naval Staff in Maritime Capability, and Senior Responsible Officer for the Mine Counter Measures and Hydrographic Capability (MHC) programme said:

An autonomous minesweeper system that can safely clear sea lanes of mines has been handed over to the Royal Navy, Defence Minister Guto Bebb has announced.

“The Mine Countermeasures and Hydrographic Capability Combined Influence Minesweeping system is the Royal Navy’s first fully autonomous capability demonstrator and paves the way for the introduction of this technology across the full range of maritime capabilities.

“Combined Influence Minesweeping is a critical component of the Mine Countermeasures capability. This autonomous system will restore the Royal Navy’s sweep capability, enabling it to tackle modern digital mines that may not otherwise be discovered in challenging mine hunting conditions.

“This autonomous sweep system represents a fundamental step in the Navy’s transition to autonomous off board systems to counter the threat posed to international shipping by the sea mine; we look forward to commencing demonstration of the associated mine hunting system in 2019.”

The handover of the system to the Royal Navy is a significant milestone for the Mine Countermeasures and Hydrographic Capability (MHC) programme, which aims to de-risk maritime autonomous systems and introduce these new technologies into the Royal Navy.

Director Ships Support Neal Lawson, of the MOD’s procurement organisation, Defence Equipment and Support, said:

“The autonomous minesweeper offers a commander the ability to defeat mines that cannot be countered by current hunting techniques and significantly reduces the risk to crew members in pressured and time-constrained operations.

“The system can offer greater flexibility and upgradability, allowing the Royal Navy to respond better to the sea-mine threat in the long-term and operate more effectively around the world and I’m therefore delighted to be back here at Bincleaves, where I started my MOD career 29 years ago, to mark the handover of this critical programme.”

The system will now undergo a series of more detailed trials with the Royal Navy.

The Royal Navy has a proud history of minesweeping, dating from World War One when even the likes of fishing trawlers were converted for use, dragging a chain from the vessel to clear German mines. Today, with far more sophisticated equipment; the service is still called upon to clear the waters of ordnance and maintains a world-leading role in mine hunting, training alongside allies in the Mediterranean and the Gulf.

The MOD has committed 1.2% of the £36bn defence budget, supported by a dedicated £800m Innovation Fund, to cutting-edge science and technology.

Shipping automation, the long journey towards the future

Source: Shipping automation, the long journey towards the future

The shipping sector has generally been slower that other fields in adopting digital technologies, due to its conservative nature and the diverse and multiple operators involved. In 2016, it was estimated that only 4-5 percent of container volume was being handled by fully automated terminals. Nonetheless, pressure from customers, need to reduce costs, and competition have heightened the request for ports to invest and automate.

Next generation of container vessels will not only be bigger, but also increasingly automated and even autonomous.

Fully-automated terminals have the advantage of low operating costs and reliable operations, but require higher investment costs and longer development. On the other hand, semi-automated terminals offer the possibility for greater productivity with less upfront costs, but are often inadequate in relation to need of port’s current needs.

The study, entitled “Competitive Gain the Ocean Supply Chain: Innovation That’s Driving Maritime Operational Transformation,” by Business Performance Innovation (BPI) Network in coordination with Navis indicates that importers, exporters, container carriers, terminal operators, vessel owners and other stakeholders suffer from poor visibility and predictability around shipments and are losing money due to a lack of partner synchronization and insufficient data insight.

As ports and the shipping industry are integral parts of global and regional supply chains, their automation and technological modernization raises the potential cyber risk. The reality of cyber threats to automated terminals was demonstrated in the “Petya” cyber-attack in June 2017, when Maersk’s APM terminal and 15 other Maesrk terminal were affected by the disruption of the malware. There is another sides to the automation advances.

Increasing automation causes the loss of situation awareness, which can significantly affect performance in abnormal, timecritical circumstances.

Rolls-Royce and AXA to jointly develop risk management products for autonomous shipping

Source: Rolls-Royce and AXA to jointly develop risk management products for autonomous shipping

Rolls-Royce and AXA Corporate Solutions have signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) to explore ways in which they can combine their respective products, to bring a new offering to the marine market, utilising Rolls-Royce Ship Intelligence systems and equipment and AXA’s risk analytics capabilities to support current sailing and future vessels.

Rolls-Royce Ship Intelligence products, including the recently launched Intelligent Awareness product, use a wide array of sensors on-board, streaming data, allowing AXA Corporate Solutions to deliver a new level of service to marine vessels.

Karno Tenovuo, Rolls-Royce, SVP Ship Intelligence said: “Many of our products are designed to improve performance and safety on-board. By working with AXA and their knowledge of risk we hope to further improve our customer’s operations. Insurers are a key part of our vision of the future and we are excited to have AXA, an equally innovative company join us on the journey.”

Etienne Champion, CEO Asia-Pacific AXA Corporate Solutions said: “This is a continuation of AXA’s commitment to support our customers in their operations through the use of new technologies and products. This cooperation will ensure our services are ready for the next generation of shipping and will accelerate our transformation from Payer to Partner.”

Mathieu Daubin, Marine Chief Underwriting Officer, AXA Corporate Solutions said: “This cooperation reflects AXA’s continued strong focus on our Marine Specialty line of business and supports our Payer-to-Partner strategy, in line with Ambition 2020. Combining AXA’s Marine Underwriting expertise and Rolls-Royce Ship Intelligence will enable both companies to deliver higher customer value through continuous innovation.”

Rolls-Royce Ship Intelligence currently offers Intelligent Awareness, Energy and Health Management products, which utilise data and analytics to support maritime operations and provide a new level of insight.

This data may also be used with AXA to manage risks currently covered by their Hull and Machinery insurance, as well as new types of products and services to support customers in volatile and difficult shipping markets. AXA is currently working on insuring autonomous cars and this knowledge will play a key part in establishing standards for insuring autonomous ships.

In the longer term, Rolls-Royce and AXA will look at the changing risk profiles of maritime operations driven by increasing levels of remote control and automation, as well as new maritime business models enabled by unmanned ships.

Defense Department Moves to Augment GPS with Alternatives

Source: Defense Department Moves to Augment GPS with Alternatives

To deliver assured PNT in the age of cyberwarfare, the stalwart GPS needs some help from supportive systems.

For nearly three decades, the Defense Department has entrusted the Global Positioning System with delivering positioning, navigation and timing (PNT) services critical to U.S. military operations. Over the last several years, though, the global navigation satellite system, prized for its high availability and deadly accuracy, has been under attack. GPS’s reliability, say proponents and detractors alike, has created a dangerously dependent military. This reliance, in turn, makes GPS an irresistible target for cybersecurity attacks.

With assured PNT (A-PNT) as the end goal, the Pentagon and other stakeholders have intensified efforts to secure funding, identify existing systems and develop new technologies to augment GPS.

“We still believe GPS is a very capable system,” says William Nelson, director, Army’s Assured PNT Cross-Functional Team (CFT), who also serves as director of programs and technology for USASMDC/ARSTRAT. “Our goal isn’t to replace it, but to augment it to provide assured PNT in GPS-degraded environments.”

Indeed, while several augmentation options are on the table for A-PNT, they’ll work together to assist and back up GPS, not replace it, according to Brad Parkinson, a professor at Stanford and vice chair of the National Space-Based PNT Advisory Board and the retired Air Force colonel who’s known as the “father of GPS.” Instead, he says, stakeholders should strive to “protect, toughen and augment” GPS and other PNT systems.

For instance, by better protecting frequencies, toughening GPS sets, and augmenting GPS with backup systems, “we’d get a pretty robust package,” says Parkinson. “What we can’t get is anything that approaches the timing and position accuracy of GPS.”

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DOD Strives for Reliable, Resilient and Trusted GPS Technology

The Assured PNT Cross-Functional Team has several programs underway, and they fall into three segments.

The first covers A-PNT user equipment programs, which include the fast-tracked Mounted Assured PNT System (MAPS). The project seeks to develop a universal box capable of distributing A-PNT from GPS and alternate systems to multiple GPS clients onboard mounted platforms. Able to access A-PNT in GPS-degraded and denied environments, MAPS incorporates integrity monitoring and anti-jamming capabilities to assess and ensure PNT accuracy.

“We’ve made significant progress on MAPS,” says Nelson, whose team and the Army Rapid Capabilities Office have delivered a working prototype. “Once we finish with requirements for MAPS, we’ll move on to developing a system for dismounted soldiers.”

The second segment comprises “enterprise enablers,” technologies that augment GPS. Particularly promising, says Nelson, are pseudo-satellites — transmitters deployed in terrestrial constellations and, potentially, in aerial vehicles. “These ‘pseudolites’ deliver a high-power signal that’s more difficult to interfere with than the weaker GPS signal,” he says.

The third segment targets “situational awareness.” The Army is committed to supplying accurate situational awareness data through technology that alerts commanding officers when their PNT equipment is compromised. “It’s extremely important that the battlefield commander knows when GPS is jammed or unreliable,” says Nelson. “When they understand the situation, they can make informed decisions based on their environment.”

Situational awareness is critical in the cyberwarfare realm, with its endless cycle of escalating moves and counter-moves. Spoofing attacks that succeed keep targets in the dark long enough to accomplish their objectives, says Todd Humphreys, a professor at the University of Texas at Austin. “Conversely, targets want to detect an attack as soon as possible so they can take corrective action,” he notes.

Nelson’s CFT is also working with the Air Force to ensure a successful transition to M-code, a more secure military signal. This effort, as well as the GPS III and next-gen OCX deployments, are part of the Air Force’s GPS modernization.

Pentagon Evaluates Emerging Tech to Supplement GPS

Ultimately, A-PNT will require a blend of technologies that work in tandem with GPS and can serve as backups. “We need to create enough resilience through augmentation that an adversary trying to disrupt GPS concludes it’s not worth the cost,” says Parkinson.

As it ramps up A-PNT efforts, the Pentagon is assessing established and emerging technologies for augmenting GPS.

New technology that leverages low-earth-orbiting Iridium satellites shows promise, says Humphreys. After Satelles appropriated the satellites, he says, it “modified the communications signals they broadcast to deliver secure position and timing services.” Now, the decade-long effort’s getting some good traction.

Humphreys, like Nelson, believes pseudolites should be at the A-PNT table. “With a signal structure very similar to GPS, they can be enormously helpful in cases where GPS is jammed by tall mountains or buildings,” he says.

Also in the mix are ground-based inertial navigation systems. “While inertialscan’t approach GPS accuracy, they’re more resilient and resistant to interference,” says Parkinson. “It also makes sense to consider eLoran, a modern, low-frequency, high-powered ground transmitter.”

DOD Aims to Speed Up Tech Development

Augmenting GPS with other systems and integrating them with hundreds of DOD platforms and devices is a task that demands, at a baseline, that agencies adopt rapid prototyping and testing, open systems, and more-flexible contracting. The Army, for one, is considering working with C5, using Other Transaction Authority funding, to develop A-PNT prototypes. “OTAs support rapid innovation and projects to testing and experimentation much faster than conventional contracting processes,” says Nelson.

Moreover, the CFT is getting close to completing a system architecture (SoSA)for A-PNT for the Army. “With so many platforms acquiring GPS receivers and sensors, we sorely needed an organized architecture to ensure strategies are affordable, incremental and minimize vendor lock,” says Nelson.

Once formalized, the SoSA will guide A-PNT system development cycles and provide direction for system modernization going forward. Publishing it, Nelson says, “will be one of the landmark events for this CFT, and our first real comprehensive attempt to get our hands around this problem.”

Nordlund delivers 63′ pilot boat to Long Beach pilots

Source: Nordlund delivers 63′ pilot boat to Long Beach pilots

Earlier this year, Nordlund Boat Co., Tacoma, Wash., launched the 63’6″x19’3″ pilot boat Orion for Jacobsen Pilot Service serving Long Beach Harbor, Calif. The boat’s design, with a draft of 3’1″, is based on the successful series of pilot boats built previously by Nordlund for the Puget Sound Pilots.

The Orion was designed by Tim Nolan Marine Design and built by at Nordlund’s Tacoma yard.

“The Orion was built to last 40-plus years with reduced maintenance costs and high efficiency. Nordlund  and Tim Nolan were chosen for their reputation for quality boats that are safe and efficient, and for their proven designs,” Capt. Tom Jacobsen, president of Jacobsen Pilot Service, said. “Our boat operators were involved with every detail of this boat from start to finish. She will deliver pilots to ships safely, in all weather conditions, for many years.”

The new pilot boat is all composite construction with fiberglass (GRP) hull and carbon fiber house and mast. It is powered by HamiltonJet HM 522 waterjets and twin Caterpillar C-18s, producing a total of 1,600 hp. The average service speed is 25 knots. Fuel capacity is 1,400 gals. and the Orion carries 100 gals. fresh water. A Northern Lights 12-kw generator provides electrical power.

The waterjets act in concert with an appendage-free hull to provide increased maneuverability for pilot transfers alongside ships. Orion has the ability to “crab” or transfer sideways while approaching or leaving a ship. It can also “crash stop” at full power, bringing the boat from full speed to a complete stop in a little more than one boat length. In addition the waterjets, by virtue of having an internally housed impeller protected by an intake grate, eliminate the risk of injuring a swimmer or victim during rescue operations. At the same time it protects the running gear from potential damage from debris such as rope and netting.

The command station has three forward-angled windows to reduce glare and keep visibility optimum when rain and wind blown spray are present. Visibility for the helmsman and passengers is 360°, and all windows are heated to reduce fogging. The helm console is a wraparound style, giving the captain full view of all systems, including navigation, speed, engine room video, equipment temperatures and oil pressures. Grab rails give added security for helm control during stormy conditions. Besides the main helm station, there are full controls on port and starboard bridge wings, plus sliding windows to give the helmsman verbal contact with the pilot during transfers. There are also port and starboard quarter controls for docking stations, and the man overboard control station, each giving the helmsman ideal position for docking, personnel transfers or man overboard recovery.

Passenger seating includes eight high-back, reclining seats with side supports. Nordlund Boat photo

Forward seating includes Stidd elevated contoured chairs with retractable dual armrests for the helmsman and crewman. Passenger seating includes eight Ekneshigh-back reclining chairs with side supports. Large overhead hand rails in the ceiling provide additional safety in heavy weather conditions. The engine room has plenty of headroom, is well lighted, and offers easy access to all of the mechanical systems during routine maintenance.

Other features include a hydraulic man overboard rescue system (MORS) mounted on the stern, with an aft control console. The rescue lift has a submersible frame with web mesh, that opens and lowers below surface level to allow a quick retrieval of an injured man overboard. The twin steps that lead down from the aft deck to boarding platforms protect the waterjets, allow boarding from a float and provide access to the water. The waterjet drives also add safety during personnel transfers, emergency rescues and maneuvering around lines or nets in the water.

The Airex sandwich composite hull was infused in a mold with Hydrex Vinylester blend resin using knitted E glass fabrics to meet ABS requirements for high speed vessels. The fendering strake is cored with Coosa high density core for increased shear strength. The decks and bulkheads are of composite E glass and foam sandwich construction. The deckhouse and mast are built of carbon fiber with a foam sandwich to reduce weight and make a strong and stiff structure. The resulting center of gravity is such that the vessel has a positive righting arm for 180° port and starboard. The Orion is self-righting and capable of recovering from a capsize.

Other hull features include a two stage deadrise prismatic afterbody, designed to make “coordinated turns”, meaning the resultant vector during a turn is perpendicular to the deck plane. There’s also a frog perch, which is a bottom extension beyond the transom that increases afterbody lift and damps pitch and heave motions at the stern during rescue operations. And Orion’s passive anti-roll tanks in the aft outboard corners of the hull reduce roll and pitch motions at rest. They also reduce change in trim underway by emptying through transom openings during the transition to planing speed.

Orion is built for tough, continuous duty, with wide exterior decks and exterior handrails all around combined with Harken Access track systems. Resilient fendering is by Wing Inflatable. The new boat’s bright yellow hull and clear pilot boat markings make it easy to spot on its rounds.