The Queen and RATS inspect Galatea

Representatives from RATS were invited to visit the new Trinity House tender, GALATEA, when she was in London alongside HMS BELFAST, to be named by Her Majesty the Queen, prior to entering service. Described as a multi-functional vessel, GALATEA has been designed for buoy handling, wreck marking, towing, and has multi beam and side scan hydrographic surveying capabilities. At 84m long with a service sped of 13 knots, she is very much state of the art, and was built in Gdansk. In an excellent guided tour, her officers gave a most interesting description of her capabilities. She is powered by six diesel generating sets producing 5.5MW producing the electricity to drive the two azimuth propellers by which she is steered (as well as propelled), and two bow thrusters, and all the ancillary equipment. It was somewhat disconcerting not to find a wheel on the bridge, rather two fist-sized units incorporating throttles which could be operated independently and requiring a high degree of co-ordination. With dynamic positioning, the computer with input from a gyro, wind gauge, vertical reference sensor, and three GPSs, is able to place and hold the ship with an accuracy of 2 metres in winds up to force 6. This enables her to stay in position alongside, say a buoy, while any necessary work is carried out. I suppose it will not be long before the same equipment is available for luxury yachts, making it possible for the marina berth coordinates to be programmed in and the boat will automatically find her way home and park conveniently in her box. Mooring up can then be carried out at leisure!

GALATEA has a helicopter pad on the foredeck and a large working deck aft, which can carry 16 buoys with anchors, or ten 20ft containers. She has a 30 ton crane with automatic weight compensation when lifting over the side. She normally works with a crew of seven, but has excellent accommodation for a further 23 when necessary. A sistership, PHAROS, was ordered at the same time for the Northern Lighthouse Board, which is responsible for maintaining the Scottish navigational aids.

from Cruising, Feb 2008