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Award for new PLA Patrol Launch

The PLA Marine Engineering TeamThe Port of London Authority (PLA) has won a special prize from the Royal Institution of Naval Architects (RINA) and Lloyd’s Register of Shipping, for the innovative design of its latest river patrol launches.

PLA worked with experts at the University of Southampton and from the boat building industry, to develop the hull design to suit the shallower waters of the Thames between Putney and Teddington.  Compared to the conventional boats it replaces, the new boat causes less disturbance on the water, which is important to the safety of rowing boats and other small craft.  It also has significantly improved environmental performance, as the slimmer twin-hull shape requires only about a third of the power to achieve patrol speeds.

PLA Marine Engineer Alan Cartwright on board the 'Richmond'The RINA – Lloyd’s Register Ship Safety Award is presented annually to the project from the international maritime community that best promotes safety or protects the environment at sea or on rivers.  The 2006 competition prize was presented to Alan Cartwright of the PLA, Professor Philip Wilson of the University of Southampton and Henry Mayhew of the boat builders, Ecocats of Cornwall, at the recent RINA Annual Dinner.

PLA chief executive, Richard Everitt, said:

“This award from two internationally respected organisations is recognition of the innovative design work of the PLA team with Southampton University and Ecocats. We now have two vessels which enable us to work more closely with the host of leisure users in the upper river and  with significant environmental benefits.”

'Richmond' at speedThe PLA sponsored a research and trials programme at the University of Southampton to develop the design concept for the boats.  The result is the new ‘twin-hull’ design of two vessels, 'Chelsea', which has been in service on the river since the end of 2006 and 'Richmond', which has just been delivered from the boat yard.

“The acid test of success has been the new boats’ performance on the water.  As the Thames above Putney is a nationally important centre for rowing, sailing and other leisure activities, it was essential that we got this right.    The warm welcome for this innovative design from all river users shows that we’ve made substantial progress.  This award is welcome recognition of the hard work that helped us deliver that performance,” he concluded.

PLA launches patrol the river every day, helping to ensure safety on the Thames; overseeing events; and providing emergency support.

More information from: Martin Garside, Port of London Authority, Tel: 01474 562366. (Email)

Notes to Editors:

  • The Port of London Authority (PLA) is responsible for navigational safety and related matters on 150km (95 miles) of the tidal Thames from the sea to Teddington
  • The PLA provides navigational, pilotage and other services for users of the Thames
  • London is one of the top three ports in the UK and handles over 50 million tonnes of cargo each year. The Port comprises over 70 independently owned and operated terminals and port facilities at different locations on the Thames. These handle a wide range of cargoes
  • London also has a busy passenger boat trade for tourists and commuters and is a popular destination for international passenger cruise ships. The tidal Thames is also used widely by those with small recreational craft of many types
  • The Royal Institution of Naval Architects is an internationally renowned professional institution whose members are involved at all levels in the design, construction, maintenance and operation of marine vessels and structures. Members of the RINA are widely represented in industry, universities and colleges, and maritime organisations in over 90 countries