New generation of smart bow SAR vessels
IJMUIDEN _ The Royal Netherlands’ Sea Rescue Institution has pressed into service its first NH1816, a new generation Search and Rescue vessel with a moderate axe bow that assures a quantum leap in the country’s maritime rescue capabilities.
The rescue service _ known by its Dutch initials KNRM _ hopes to acquire 10 of the 19m vessels. Damen Shipyards, the builder, wants to market the craft worldwide. The NH-1816 has a range of 348 nm, gets up to 31 knots, has a crew of 6 and can transport up to 120 survivors. Queen Maxima of the Netherlands (photo) launched the first NH-1816 last month _ not a textbook launch, but close enough!
The KNRM operates about 80 rescue vessels of which the NH1816 _ the name refers to an insurance company and major sponsor _ is the most advanced. It emerged from 3 years of study and one of construction with an aluminum hull and a polyester wheelhouse that responds to the ergonomic, technical and operational wishes of KNRM crews.
The boat was drawn by Damen, the De Vries Lentsch naval architecture studio and Delft University of Technology. It features the latest in nav/comms technologies and meets strict environmental norms. Its design phase included 2 years of tank testing. Its hull features retractable aft fins and a straight bow that reduces G-forces in high-wave conditions by 45%.
The new SAR vessel has a ‘semi-axe’ bow that cuts wave pounding _ a moderate version of the blade bows Damen has put on 75 offshore craft and super yacht tenders since 2007. They guarantee offshore workers and others being shuttled from the shore to ship and back a comfortable ride. The full ‘axe bow’ has a deep forefoot and a high no-flare bow that cuts wave slamming and fuel consumption.
The NH1816 lacks a deep forefoot for that would hinder shallow water rescue operations. It has 2, 1200hp engines in 2 separate water-tight bays and water jet propulsion that renders a top speed of 31 knots. The KNRM rescues some 3,000 people a year. It has a pool of 1,300 rescuers operating from 45 rescue stations. The organization relies on donors and gifts for its revenues.