Port of Rotterdam makes a splash

Last week I took a trip over to Rotterdam for the inauguration of a new patrol boat into the fleet of vessels for the Port of Rotterdam, the RPA8.

Rotterdam is one of the largest ports in Europe as well as being a fantastic Dutch city.

However, I did not bet on my trip coinciding with one of the deadliest storms to hit Northern Europe. Gusts of up to 140km/h (90mph) saw Schiphol airport close its doors for most of the day and the Dutch rail network ground to a halt.

Driving through the port the damage and disruption was clear to see with water taxis forced onto their moorings, cargo containers tumbling from their stacks and Dutch cyclists batting against the high winds.

Despite this, the show must go on and I was able to take a look on board the RPA8 Patrol Boat which entered service with the Port of Rotterdam Harbour Master on 18 January following its official christening ceremony.

The boat is one of the most advanced designs of vessel the port authority has in its fleet now.

The RPA8 was constructed by Dutch Shipyard Kooiman, representing the first time the shipbuilder has constructed a patrol boat, and designed by Dutch Naval Architects Van Oossanen.

The integration of Hull Vane technology from Van Oossanen, essentially an underwater spoiler, has allowed energy saving on the boat, reduces wave making and assists in noise reduction

One feature that could be applicable to the future use of Hull Vane is that can enable pitch and yaw damping, stabilising the boat, allowing for weapon systems to be more accurate and assist in helicopter landings on larger vessels through the improvement of the core stability.

While to-date the Hull Vane has a modest portfolio of ships it has been integrated on the possibilities appear significant both for retrofit and new builds.

Typically navies and fleet operators tend to trust proven designs, with new vessels using the Hull Vane this presents an opportunity for the maritime community to see the technology in action.

The company is now testing the Hull Vane on the Holland Class OPV to see what advantages it can bring to large naval vessels. The market for the Hull Vane is typically large vessels with high speed requirements of around 25kt.

If the Dutch navy is seen to adopt this technology it could open the floodgates for Hull Vane. Pardon the pun.

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