The following is text of a news release from Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding:
(SOMERSET, Mass.) — Delta Launch Services, the operating company for the Associated Branch pilots on the Southwest Pass of the Mississippi River, has ordered a new pilot boat from Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding, Duclos Corp. This is the sixth St. John’s-class launch built for the Delta pilots by the Somerset, Mass., shipyard. Delivery of the new 52-footer is scheduled for July 2020.
The new launch, a sister ship to Assistant, delivered in 2018, measures 52.6 feet overall, with a beam of 16 feet 11 inches and a draft of 4 feet 8 inches. The all-aluminum pilot boat features the Ray Hunt Design deep-V hull. It will be powered by twin Caterpillar C18 EPA Tier 3 diesel engines, each delivering 671 hp at 2,100 rpm and a top speed of 24 knots. Twin Disc MG5136A gears will turn five-blade Bruton bronze propellers. The launch will be equipped with a 12-kW Northern Lights genset.
The wheelhouse, with a small trunk, will be flush-mounted to the deck amidships. Aft of its helm station are six Llebroc pilot seats. The forecastle will be equipped with enclosed marine head, settee and three berths. The wheelhouse and forecastle will be heated and cooled by three reverse-cycle air-conditioning units, totaling 40,000 BTUs.
Outside of the wheelhouse are wide side decks, rear and side doors, and hinged boarding platforms on the roof. At the transom is a winch-operated rotating davit over a recessed platform for rescue operations.
The new launch will be U.S. Coast Guard Subchapter T certified to carry 12 passengers for hire.