OSJ Support Vessel of the Year, Alkahfi Chief, is the fastest mid-sized crewboat currently available
Fast executive-class crewboat, Alkahfi Chief, won Offshore Support Journal’s Support Vessel of the Year Award 2020 for its innovations, speed and design specifications.
Alkahfi Chief was designed and developed by BMT and Penguin Shipyard to transport crew and cargo to offshore facilities; it has a top speed of 30 knots and is based on the Flex-42X design, featuring three Caterpillar C32 Acert main engines and fixed-pitch propellers.
The Flex-42X is a multipurpose vessel, supporting several operational duties in addition to its primary purpose as a personnel and cargo transfer vessel. These other roles include security and escort, search and rescue, emergency response, fire-fighting, and medivac.
BMT director of naval architecture for specialised ships Sylvain Julien says Alkahfi Chief sets a new industry benchmark in the crewboat market through its innovative design, efficient operation and the amenities offered to personnel.
Discussing the vessel, Mr Julien says: “Our main objective for the Flex-42X design was to develop a new paradigm for mid-sized crewboats, whereby higher speed, higher level of comfort, and increased capability would be achieved at both lower capital and operational cost.”
He feels the award is testament to the quality of the work conducted to overcome these challenges. “It has been quite a challenge to achieve the right balance and this relied on the combination of BMT and Penguin’s expertise to tackle all aspects of the design, from the high level to the minute details.”
Alkahfi Chief benefits from the integration of an Uptime-supplied 12-m walk-to-work system, located on the aft deck, an interceptor-based ride-control system, provided by Humphree, and a FuelTrax fuel monitoring system.
Alkahfi Chief’s passenger seating is in a two-by-two arrangement, with a large seat pitch of 1,100 mm, comparable to business-class recliners on major airlines.
The vessel has an overall length of 42 m, beam of 8 m and draught of 1.6 m, with seating for 80 personnel.
BMT is also developing other crewboat designs. “We are currently working on a number of vessel design projects, including smaller, faster crewboats, together with a larger support vessel” says Mr Julien. “In addition to the typical requirements associated with these designs, there is a strong focus on reducing fuel consumption and exhaust emissions,” he adds.
“For this, we leverage our experience in hybrid and alternative fuel propulsion systems, while rethinking the overall propulsion configuration to offer the best compromise in through-life cost.”
Penguin Shipyard builds its crewboats at its yards in Singapore and Batam, Indonesia. It has delivered 120 vessels over the past 10 years and has a 44% market share of all crewboats delivered worldwide.