By Alan Haig-Brown
The iconic 4-wheel-drive World War II Jeep has undergone decades of upgrades to become the modern SUV. Now the craft that landed on the beaches of Normandy and the islands of the Pacific has been similarly upgraded at the South East Asia Shipyard in Vietnam.
The most important factor in the design, by France’s Piriou Ingénierie, is the provision for the landing craft to carry up to nine TEU of containers on trailers as well as regular cargos. Side rails will secure the trailers and their containers. Electric connections will be provided for reefer container
s. The trailers and other cargo will be loaded and off loaded through the hydraulic controlled forward cargo ramp.
The advent of containerized shipping has put many small island and coastal communities at a disadvantage in shipping products such as locally caught fish. There has also been difficulties in the importation of containerized consumer goods. The 39.8 by 9.8-metre landing craft will be put in service between St Martin and St Barthelemy Islands in the West Indies. The vessel, owned by RMP Caraïbes, is surveyed by BV and will be French flagged.
To be named Hirundo, Latin for swallow, the vessel is powered by a pair of six-cylinder Cummins KTA19 engines each rated for 425 HP at 1800 RPM. These engines will turn fixed pitch four-blade propellers through ZF360 gears with 2.917:1 rations. Two Cummins-powered Leroy Somer generators with outputs of 106 KVA and 65 KVA will provide electrical power. Both generators are 50Hz and 230-400 V tri-phase systems.
Fuel and water capacities are 34 cubic meters and 7.5 m3 respectively. To be operated by a crew of four, the boat will be delivered to her owners via a heavy lift ship from Ho Chi Minh City to Pointe a Pitre, Guadeloupe and then on her own keel to St Barthelemy. This revision and update of the classic landing craft offers
potential for many areas world wide that are too small for a conventional container port