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abel-nov-13Close collaboration between two Northumberland engineering companies has resulted in the production of a unique marine vessel which is certified for work in the most extreme Hazardous Areas.

Blyth-based Alnmaritec, the UK’s premier commercial boat builder, and the nearby Ashington-based A-Belco Group joined forces for the production of a line and hose handling boat which is to be installed on the FPSO (Floating Production, Storage and Offloading) vessel, N’GOMA, currently under construction at the Keppel shipyard in Singapore, but due to be stationed off the Angolan coast from 2014.

The twin diesel engine vessel, the 25th ‘Wave Handler’ class boat Alnmaritec has produced, has been designed primarily for line and hose handling duties with a small wheelhouse forward with folding seating for four passengers and a bow access arrangement for personnel transfers. The aft deck is fitted with a working platform at the stern to facilitate hose/line handling with a hydraulic capstan built into a plinth on the deck and a towing point with a remotely operated quick release hook.

The boat is actually based on board the FPSO and launched by davits. As such, all electrical fittings had to ATEX certified for use Zone 1 Hazardous Areas – the potentially explosive atmosphere on an FPSO requires the most stringent standards of electrical safety.

Alnmaritec’s Operations Director, Andy Clark, commented, “We’d designed and constructed such vessels before but had always had problems with suppliers of the electrical equipment which are so important on projects like this. We were therefore delighted to find the A-Belco Group virtually on our doorstep and they have been incredibly helpful throughout the whole design and production process.”

“We’ve turned the original enquiry from our customer, Single Buoy Moorings Limited of Monaco, around to handover of the boat in just 16 weeks and, whilst our design of aluminium boat is now the industry standard, the help we had from A—Belco on the ATEX certified electrical systems, enabled us to meet the customer’s target.”

On board the boat, all electrical fittings are ATEX certified, from the battery charging sockets, the wiring assemblies and including even the LED external lights that enable the boat to work at night.

A-Belco Hazardous Area Sales Administrator, Janice Taylor, added, “The boat contains not only items from our Hazardous Area Products Division, but also light fittings from the Hadar Lighting Division, including the very latest LED floodlights. We’re delighted to have been of assistance  to Alnmaritec and look forward to being ‘good neighbours’ on many such projects!”

Further details of the A-Belco Group and their manufacturing divisions is available at