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First Of New Generation of Thames Harbour Patrol Launch Named

The first of a new, improved generation of Port of London Authority (PLA) harbour patrol launch was officially named today (9 June 2009), at a ceremony on the river Thames. 

The new launch, Lambeth, is one of a fleet of five specially-designed catamarans being introduced in a £2 million PLA investment, to replace seven heavier, older vessels. At initial sea trials, the new vessel has already shown the expected benefits of substantially reduced exhaust emissions, lower fuel consumption and smaller wash waves. The PLA also expects to benefit from easier maintenance and operation, as the single design replaces seven different vessels.

Lambeth and her four sister patrol boats, all to be named after London bridges, are products of five years of British planning, research, design and construction. The new boat was conceived by the PLA and built by Alnmaritec, at their boatyard in Northumberland, to the PLA’s design – developed in conjunction with experts at Newcastle University and naval architects Amgram Limited.

The PLA was created in March 1909 and celebrates its centenary this year. The Authority’s chairman, Simon Sherrard, said:
“It’s appropriate that we take delivery of this new patrol boat at the start of the PLA’s second century. Our harbour patrols have been on the river for the last 100 years. This new design uses the best of modern technology so we can do our essential job more efficiently and with much reduced environmental impact.”



Left to right: Alan Cartwright, PLA marine engineer; Dr Sheila Fitzpatrick, Trustee of the Marine Society and Sea Cadets; Paul Clark MP, shipping minister

Left to right: Alan Cartwright, PLA marine engineer; Dr Sheila Fitzpatrick, Trustee of the Marine Society and Sea Cadets; Paul Clark MP, shipping minister; Simon Sherrard, PLA Chairman; Sara Sherrard

The first of the new launches, Lambeth, was officially named at Westminster Boating Base on 9 June by Dr Sheila Fitzpatrick, trustee of the Marine Society and Sea Cadets and wife of former shipping minister, Jim Fitzpatrick MP.  She was accompanied by incoming shipping minister, Paul Clark MP, in the first engagement in his new post.

Dr Fitzpatrick was accompanied by newly appointed Shipping Minister Paul Clark who commented, after the naming: “It’s great to see Britain’s marine engineering, naval architecture and boat building prowess creating such an excellent vessel which will help keep river users safe. The PLA is responsible for a very long stretch of river that is home to a wide variety of uses. This new boat will have many uses, from monitoring commuting and barge movements here in central London, to boarding pilots onto deep-sea container ships. I look forward to seeing the sister vessels join her on the river over the next three years.”

Lambeth will be put through a series of trials over the coming months so that any necessary improvements can be introduced into her sister vessels, which are scheduled to enter service over the next three years.

Launch details:

  • Builder: Alnmaritec, based in Alnwick, Northumberland
  • Vessel type: aluminium low-wash deep-vee catamaran hull design
  • Dimensions: 13.5m long, overall, and 4.7m wide
  • Weight: 11 tonnes
  • Patrol speed: 18 knots (20.5 mph)
  • Maximum Speed: 21 knots (24 mph)
  • Fuel consumption & emissions – one third of comparable monohull vessel
  • Engines: two 200 horsepower John Deere marine Diesel engines - installed power of 400 HP

About the PLA:

  • The Port of London Authority (PLA) is responsible for navigational safety and related matters on 95 miles of the tidal Thames from the sea to Teddington in west London
  • The PLA provides navigational, pilotage and other services for users of the Thames
  • London is the UK's second largest port, handling over 50 million tonnes of cargo each year.
  • 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.

Enquiries: PLA Corporate Affairs, Tel: 01474-562364