The first of these companies is VOS (Vroon Offshore Services) - part of the Vroon conglomerate that was formed in Breskens over a century ago and has since grown into a major international shipping business that operates and manages a diverse fleet of about 150 vessels. And Vroon’s ongoing fleet-expansion and newbuilding programme will secure further growth in the years ahead. The Company operates four main vessel categories: platform supply vessels (PSV), anchor handling tug supply (AHTS) vessels, emergency response and rescue vessels (ERRV) and subsea support vessels.
The second company is Stockport (UK) based Delta Power Group (Delta). Delta was set up in 1979 and remains, to this day, at the forefront of RIB technology, leading the way with its RIBs designed and built for the rigours of use with Rescue Organisations, Police and Patrol Authorities etc.
So when VOS needed seven new daughter craft RIBs to be operated from its next generation ERRV mother vessels currently in build in Nanjing, China, it was logical that it placed the order for this contract with Delta.
Based on Delta’s successful and long-running Phantom model, these new daughter craft RIBs have to satisfy Bureau Veritas (BV), MCA and Vroon - so must undergo a series of stringent functional and operational safety tests. The first craft (delivered for testing in Southampton Water in August 2012) passed with flying colours, displaying excellent manoeuvrability and comfortably achieving 34 knots with seven people on board. Attending the trials was a full team comprising Marcel van der Ploeg (from the Newbuilding Team Vroon B.V.), Gordon Coull (Vroon Offshore Services Ltd's FRC Workshop Manager) and Stuart Thom (Manager of Ship Management Vroon Offshore Services Ltd.).
The seven daughter craft RIBs are 10.6m LOA, 3.36m wide and draw 0.71m. All up weight (including 430 litres of fuel, three crew and 9 x 85kg survivors) comes in at 7062 kg. Twin Yanmar 6BY-240 engines power the craft via twin Hamilton HJ241 waterjets.
The first two have been successfully transported to China for further testing and synchronising of specialist equipment fitted on the mother vessels. Then, when all deliveries have been completed in China and the UK, all the vessels will be reunited in UK waters prior to joining Vroon's fleet of ERRVs in the North Sea.
In addition to the current class and statutory requirements for this type of craft, VOS also required additional safety features based on its extensive operational experience. These include increased hull strengthening (to absorb the continuous heavy slamming the craft will encounter in the North Sea) and modifications to allow for the increased manning weight of 85 kg/person (rather than current 75 kg/person).
VOS also specified Water Jet drives (for increased safety and manoeuvrability)