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Construction under way for pioneering hybrid pilot boat

October 19, 2018


A vessel set to dramatically turn the pilot boat industry on its head is approaching its first milestone.

The Port of London Authority (PLA) has ordered the UK’s first hybrid pilot boat from Norfolk boat builder Goodchild Marine Services Limited.

The first stage of construction is nearing completion at the company’s yard near Great Yarmouth, with the shell of the vessel already bonded together.

The timely news comes as the country marks its first Green Great Britain Week, this week, a landmark campaign spearheaded by the government to highlight the opportunities clean growth offers the UK, and to raise awareness of how people can help tackle climate change.

The UK reduced its emissions by more than 40pc, between 1990 and 2016, while improving the economy by more than two-thirds, through low carbon technologies and more effective use of resources.

The ORC 136 HY, a parallel hybrid pilot boat, will combine both diesel and electric power and has been designed to be completely emission free, when operating in electric mode.

The installation of green technology is one of 18 proposals outlined in the PLA’s recently-published Air Quality Strategy for the Tidal Thames. A first for the UK port sector, the strategy aims to reduce river-based air pollution, whilst also facilitating future growth of waterborne freight and passenger transport.

In operation, the new pilot cutter is expected to deliver dramatic improvements in the PLA’s overall environmental performance.

Marine and Industrial Transmissions Limited (MIT) and its manufacturing and technology partners Transfluid will provide the hybrid system, while E P Barrus are set to supply the engines.

Steve Pierce, General Manager for Goodchild Marine Service Limited, said: “The build is well underway with the hull and deck bonded together in the past week.

“Green technology is progressing at a rapid rate and we have made it our mission to produce boats that we believe will stand the test of time, while being able to operate in speeds of up to 15 knots in electric mode.

“With a light hull shape and minimal drag, our ORC range lends itself towards hybrid power. Coupled with a controlled propulsion power transfer, the system should make a significant impact upon the carbon footprint, adhering to the strategy implemented by the PLA.

“We expect to see the ORC 136 HY set the precedent for the future in the way that it reduces emissions, pollutants and noise.”

Goodchild Marine Services Limited, currently celebrating its 40th anniversary year, has recently secured a contract to export its first ORC 171 to Dublin Port Company, as well as construct an ORC 121 for Associated British Ports, Lowestoft and two ORC 136 pilot boats for Briggs Commercial Limited, to be based in Liverpool.

Steve Pierce and Tony Birr, Business Development Manager, will be representing Goodchild Marine Services Limited at the UK Harbour Masters Association Members Dinner and seminar on November 27 and 28, in London.

They will be available to discuss their full range of pilot boats, harbour workboats and maintenance facilities plus provide an update on the ORC 136 HY, which is due for delivery in June 2019.

Picture Caption: The PLA project team, along with Goodchild Marine Services Limited staff, who are involved in building the hybrid pilot boat.

Media Contacts : Produced and distributed on behalf of Goodchild Marine Services Limited by TMS Media. Contact Steve Pierce, General Manager, 01493 782301, or Louisa Lay, 01493 662929,

For further information about the PLA: Nick Tennant, Head of Communications 07784 208074

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