Veecraft launch unique new wave piercing catamaran

POSTED 27 May 2015

Veecraft Marine is set to take South Africa’s marine involvement in the African oil and gas sector to new levels of excellence with the launch of its unique new wave piercing catamaran.

The multi-role utility vessel will be powered by Cat propulsion engines and generators supplied by Barloworld Power, a long-time partner to Veecraft and its customers.


Incat Crowther, the globally renowned Australian commercial boat designer with which Veecraft is affiliated, designed the new vessel and the first aluminium plates will be cut before the end of 2013 at Veecraft’s Cape Town yard.  It will be ready for delivery before the end of 2014 following sea trials.

The original plan was to build the 30m Ocean Runner utility craft on spec, but Africa Diving Services Ltd in Nigeria has since placed an order for the prototype and has indicated that it may follow up with orders for five more of these unique vessels based on its performance.

Out of this came the wave piercing catamaran dubbed Ocean Runner, a concept thought to be unique worldwide for crew transfer in the oil sector. Ocean Runner has the same bow-based exit point for safe access to oil rigs. However a more lightweight catamaran design was favoured for stability, fuel efficiency and speed. To improve performance in heavy seas, a third hull was added at the bow between the catamaran hulls to enable the vessel to pierce bigger waves as a conventional monohull would do. The shape of the wave piercing hulls with the unique bow entry is designed for maximum efficiency in all conditions.

The lighter weight, together with the efficient wave-piercing design, has resulted in a 33% reduction in power required when compared to a mono-hull of the same length and load carrying capacity. This means it requires two Cat C32 engines instead of the three previously specified for similar size crew vessels built by Veecraft. This has significant cost saving implications in terms of capital outlay, fuel efficiency and maintenance.

The vessel is designed to achieve 30 knots at a Sea State 3, another remarkable achievement for this design. The design of a 40 knot version fitted with hydro-supportive foils is already on the drawing board.

The vessel has the same carrying capacity as the typical 30m monohull crew vessels built by Veecraft Marine for oil and gas customers. It has a 10 ton deck payload and can transport up to 22 people, in addition to accommodation for the eight-person crew. However, other unique features transform the Ocean Runner into a multi-role vessel.

The vessel can easily convert into a security vessel with the addition of a container module on the 8,5m wide aft deck to accommodate eight security personnel. This means it can remain at sea for extended periods to provide a security function. This can be swapped out with a container containing oil recovery equipment, for example, making Ocean Runner a versatile support craft.

This unique multi-purpose feature can only be accommodated due to the extra width allowed through the catamaran design.

Ballistic protection to the wheel house will offer added security from piracy and provide a “safe house” on board. The vessel will also be fitted with fire-fighting pump driven from the main engines and supplying a remotely operated fire monitor on the foredeck. 

The wave piercing catamaran has been designed in 28m, 30m and 40m versions, all capable of accommodating the multi-purpose container in addition to its personnel transport function.