Finnish survey company FCG (Finnish Consulting Group) Ltd. has placed an order for a new GRP survey boat from Blyth Workcats Ltd of Canvey Island, U.K. The 14-meter catamaran will be known as the Nordic Sonar and it is now being built to meet the specialized needs of the FCG survey teams. It will be based in Turku, Finland and is being fitted with comprehensive heating system and insulation suitable for its use in the demanding conditions around the Finnish coast and the northern Baltic.
The boat is being built specifically to meet the needs of FCG Ltd which specializes in bar sweeping to provide the accurate survey data required by Finland’s maritime authorities. Because the country’s inshore waters typically have stony bottoms they are known to generate inaccurate acoustic sounder readings so bar sweeping is used to provide the accurate measurements that acoustic systems may be unable to achieve. Although bar sweeping is generally considered to be old fashioned, because it is a mechanical process, it will reliably detect any underwater obstruction and provide data of indisputable consistency. The new survey boat will therefore be equipped with electric winches in the bow and amidships that will be used for raising and lowering the bar and its centre beam. Because the company is equipped for this type of sweep FCG is regularly contracted by the Finnish Traffic Agency to survey the country’s ports and fairways and to conduct pre and post dredging assessments using the bar sweeping survey technique.
Although the Nordic Sonar will be specifically equipped for bar sweeping surveys, it will also carry a full suite of acoustic survey equipment. This will include Differential GPS and Real Time Kinematic GPS. Soundings will be available from a 200 kHz single-beam echo sounder and a10-20 kHz low frequency echo sounder that may be used for sub-bottom profiling. The Nordic Sonar will also be able to carry equipment to conduct side-scan, multi-beam and 2-4 KHz seismic soundings whenever required. A crane on the after deck will also be available for taking seabed samples and stern platforms will facilitate diver access whenever they are employed during harbor surveys.
The Nordic Sonar will be powered by two Cummins QSC 8.3 500hp engines which will enable it to reach its survey locations at an economical cruising speed of 18 knots. A beam of nearly five meters will enable a spacious cabin that will accommodate the boat’s two-man survey crew and the wide range of topsides equipment in comfort.
Commenting on the anticipated benefits of the new boat, Pekka Rihti, field manager of FCG Ltd said, “With the new boat we will be able to reach a client’s worksite much more quickly than we can at the moment. It will also be better in rough sea conditions and more economical than a monohull boat. We chose Blyth to supply our new boat because they have many years of experience in making catamaran workboats that are reasonably priced. In Finland catamarans are built only in aluminum and that makes them far more expensive.”
The Nordic Sonar is scheduled for delivery in April 2014 when it will be in time for work during the new survey season. Construction has already begun at the Blyth Workcats yard at Canvey Island in Essex. The company has been building GRP catamaran workboats there for over 30 years and now has a range of craft in sizes up to 20-meters. These are suitable for a wide range of applications that demand reliability and durability combined with good sea keeping and economy. In addition to survey work their uses may include passenger transport, wind farm support, charter diving and angling, commercial fishing, aquaculture and fish farm operations.