Port’s New Pilot Vessel put Through its Paces in Heavy Seas

Specialist boat builders have captured dramatic video and images of the Port of Cromarty Firth’s (PoCF) latest pilot vessel undergoing a rigorous final trial in heavy seas.

They show the Balblair conducting pre-delivery trials in huge seas off the coast of Ireland, where the bespoke boat was built by Safehaven Marine.

The Interceptor 48 class vessel is due to be sailed to Scotland this month, to be brought into service on the busy waters of the firth.

It is the second pilot vessel to be built for the Port by Safehaven in recent years, in an investment totalling more than £1.5million since 2019.

The Balblair will be part of a fleet of boats used to transport the Port’s highly skilled pilots between the trust port’s base at Invergordon, in Easter Ross, and the vessels that enter the Cromarty Firth.  

Graham Grant, the PoCF’s marine support manager, said: “The Balblair is a fantastic new state-of-the-art vessel, capable of operating in the most challenging and difficult sea conditions, as the incredible video and photographs show.

“She’s a very welcome addition to our fleet and will provide an efficient, safe and stable platform for performing pilotage operations.

“The investment in a second new Interceptor 48 provides future resilience as the Port prepares to meet the new demands placed on us from an increasingly diverse customer base.

“We very much look forward to taking delivery and bringing her into service.”

Safehaven managing director, Frank Kowalski, added: “It’s always particularly satisfying to receive a repeat order, as we did after delivering the Dalmore, the first pilot boat, to the Cromarty Firth in 2019.

“It shows how successful the boat has been in operation, and the Port’s confidence in Safehaven Marine as a builder.”

The Balblair undergoing trials in rough seas
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