Recent Launches


On October 21st, 2017 the next two 25m SWATH@A&R pilot tenders for Houston Pilots have been christened in Texas, USA. Already in September “HOUSTON” and “BAYOU CITY” had arrived on board a heavy cargo vessel in their new homeport Houston and commenced service after extensive trials. They will replace their predecessors of the same names.

Some 20 years ago the Houston Pilots were the first pilot association operating SWATH vessels as pilot tenders. The foremost of that extraordinary technology, the old “HOUSTON”, also somehow influenced Abeking & Rasmussen from Germany when they introduced SWATH vessels to the European market in the late 90ies and constantly further developed it to today´s SWATH@A&R technology which forms the basis for a total number of 26 SWATH@A&R vessels operating all over the world.

The SWATH story came to full circle when in late 2015 the Houston Pilots ordered the two newbuildings at A&R Special Vessels, part of the Abeking & Rasmussen group. The decision for SWATH@A&R technology was based on their own good operational experience and those of other pilot associations already using SWATH@A&R in Germany, The Netherlands, and Belgium with several 25m SWATH@A&R pilot tenders and 60m SWATH@A&R pilot station ships. These vessels perform their duty in a tough workboat application all year round – under all weather conditions. In less than 18 months the shipyard built the first vessel followed only 10 weeks later by her sister ship.

The two identical newbuildings have a length over all of 25.56m with a beam of 13.00m and a draught of 2.70m. Each vessel offers 10 relax rooms, large mess room with separate TV corner and, for the first time, an extended wheelhouse with ergonomic consoles and attached waiting zone for four pilots. The propulsion plant consists of two diesel engines type MAN D2862 LE 44 driving two fixed pitch propellers via Reintjes gearboxes. The maximum speed is reached at 19.5kts and the endurance at economic speed is 1,000nm.

The “HOUSTON” was built as newbuilding no. SV6503 while “BAYOU CITY” carried newbuilding no. SV6504. The ships were christened at San Jacinto Maritime College in La Porte on October 21st, 2017 by Janiece Longoria respectively Kerri Taylor. “We had a tight schedule building the new ships in very close and remarkable cooperation with the Houston Plots team and are now proud to see them in their homeport” said Thomas Horn, technical director at A&R Special Vessels.

Date 22. October 2017
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