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Flinders Ports launched its new pilot boat the Alert, today at an official ceremony held at the South Australian Royal Yacht Squadron. The new pilot boat is named after HMS Alert – the first vessel that legendary navigator Matthew Flinders served on. She was launched by Flinders University Art Museum Director, Fiona Salmon, who is also one of Matthew Flinders’ descendants. The Alert is the first of two brand new pilot boats arriving at Port Adelaide to join the Flinders Ports’ fleet, as part of the company’s long-term investment strategy.

“It has been 20 years since any port in South Australia has welcomed a new pilot boat. Flinders Ports wanted to mark its significance by choosing a name that would resonate for us and our stakeholders. The naming of the Alert is a fitting tribute to Matthew Flinders and we are delighted that Fiona Salmon one of Matthew Flinders descendants agreed, and christened the Alert for us today,” said Captain Carl Kavina, General Manager, Marine Operations at Flinders Ports.

Built by Hart Marine, at a cost of around $2.5 million,the Alert has been constructed to NSCV criteria with a 2C classification and measures16 metres long, with an overall beam of 5.43 metres. The vessel has a top speed of 27 knots and maximum draft of 1.5 metres and will bring enhanced manoeuvrability and responsiveness to Flinders Ports’ pilotage services.

“We anticipate a number of flow-on benefits for our shipping customers, because these new boats have a range of features that improve operational efficiency and most significantly – safety standards,” said Captain Kavina.

The new boats have a vital safety feature, a self-righting mechanism, which will safeguard the crew in the event of a capsize. An innovative beak-bow design provides enhanced sea handling characteristics, reducing stress and fatigue for the crew from the pitching and rolling of the vessel in rough waters. The new boats also feature the latest generation of marine I.T. software including Forward Looking Infra-Red (FLIR), which will assist the crew when working in the dark, when visibility is poor, or during search and rescue operations.

Before Flinders Ports placed orders for the new pilot boats, the group’s marine operations division conducted extensive stakeholder consultation and engaged independent naval architects, Naval Architecture and Marine Solutions (NMS) to assist with the entire process from the specifications and competitive tender, through to sea trials.

Australian owned and operated boat builder Hart Marine won the tender for the contract.

“We were very impressed with Hart Marine’s vessels. In terms of functionality and reliability these boats are exceptional and this will enable us to improve service delivery for our customers. Engaging an Australian boat builder also helped to streamline the process offering clear efficiencies for us as a group,” said Captain Kavina.

The second pilot boat is scheduled to arrive at Port Adelaide in October this year.

About Flinders Ports

Flinders Ports is South Australia’s largest private port operator with seven ports located at Port Adelaide, Port Lincoln, Port Pirie, Thevenard, Port Giles, Wallaroo and Klein Point. Flinders Ports provides pilotage services at all seven of its South Australian ports, as well as for the Port of Whyalla and Port Bonython. Part of the Flinders Port Holdings Group, which is led by Chief Executive Officer, Vincent Tremaine, Flinders Ports offers a range of port and port related services including pilotage, mooring, survey and marine control. For more information about Flinders Ports, visit:


About Matthew Flinders

Born in Donnington in 1774, Matthew Flinders first went to sea at the age of 15 in 1789, serving on board the HMS Alert. He became a distinguished navigator and cartographer and is credited as being the first person to circumnavigate Australia, and to create the first complete chart of Australia as a continent. He died aged 40 in London in 1814.

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