New Thames Patrol Launch

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The first of a new, improved generation of Port of London Authority (PLA) patrol launch has arrived on the Thames. The new launch, Lambeth, is one of a fleet of five specially-designed catamarans being introduced in a $2.8b PLA investment, to replace seven heavier, older vessels.  At initial trials, the new vessel has already shown the expected benefits of substantially reduced exhaust emissions, lower fuel consumption and smaller wash waves.  The PLA also expects to benefit from easier maintenance and operation, as the single design replaces seven different vessels.

Lambeth and her four sister patrol boats, all to be named after London bridges, are products of five years of British planning, research, design and construction.  The new boat was conceived by the PLA and built by Alnmaritec, at their boatyard in Northumberland, to the PLA’s design – developed in conjunction with experts at Newcastle University and naval architects Amgram Limited.

The PLA was created in March 1909 and celebrates its centenary this year. PLA chairman, Simon Sherrard, said, “It’s appropriate that we take delivery of this new patrol boat at the start of the PLA’s second century.  Our harbour patrols have been on the river for the last 100 years.  This new design uses the best of modern technology so we can do our essential job more efficiently and with much reduced environmental impact.”

The new patrol launches will monitor the safety of river users, through the busy central stretches of the river past Westminster and the City out to the deep sea Port operations around the Dartford crossing and beyond.  Lambeth was officially named by Dr Sheila Fitzpatrick, Trustee of the Marine Society and Sea Cadets at Westminster Boating Base.

Dr Fitzpatrick was accompanied by newly appointed Shipping Minister Paul Clark MP who commented, after the naming, “It’s great to see Britain’s marine engineering, naval architecture and boat building prowess creating such an excellent vessel which will help keep river users safe.  The PLA is responsible for a very long stretch of river that is home to a wide variety of uses.  This new boat will have many uses, from monitoring commuting and barge movements here in central London, to boarding pilots onto deep-sea container ships.  I look forward to seeing the sister vessels join her on the river over the next three years.”

Lambeth will be put through a series of trials over the coming months so that any necessary improvements can be introduced into her sister vessels, which are scheduled to enter service over the next three years.

Builder    Alnmaritec, based in Alnwick, Northumberland
Vessel type    aluminium low-wash deep-vee catamaran hull design
Dimensions    44.3 ft long, overall, and 15.4 ft wide
Weight    11 tonnes
Patrol speed    18 knots (20.5 mph)
Maximum Speed    21 knots (24 mph)
Fuel consumption & emissions    one third of comparable monohull vessel
Engines    two 200 horsepower John Deere marine Diesel engines - installed power of 400 hp

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