Caterpillar C18 Generator Sets Power New North Sea Rescue Vessels

Posted by Depco Power on Tue, Nov 15, 2016

The North Sea is an important resource for commercial fishing, shipping and oil production and a tremendously difficult environment to work in. Bordered by Belgium, Denmark, Northern France, Germany, Great Britain and the Netherlands, this relatively shallow region of the Atlantic is also known for extreme weather conditions that can change in an instant. That's why support for these industries and the people who work in them requires fleets of ERRVs, emergency response and rescue vessels. These ships are capable of rendering aid to marine vessels and oil platforms in remote locations and bad weather.


North Star Shipping operates a large fleet of British marine assistance vessels ready to render aid to various industries under a variety of challenging conditions. The Grampian Fortress and its sister ship, the Grampian Freedom, both powered by Caterpillar C18 Generator Sets, are the latest additions to North Star's fleet. The name, Grampian, likely refers to a region in Scotland featuring some of the tallest mountains in the UK. Freedom and Fortress designate the vessels as being the new F-Class, which unlike the D-Class, has 2 bow and 2 stern thrusters.

Built in 2016 at the Balenciaga Shipyard in Spain and registered in Scotland, these heavy-duty, multi-purpose, standby rescue vessels were designed to supply emergency services to North Sea oil rigs.

These remarkable vessels are capable of rescuing and treating up to 300 people. At sea on standby for 28 days at a time, the new ERRVs feature dedicated survivor services located on the main deck. Hot showers are available outside the reception area. Survivors are then moved to either waiting, treatment or recovery areas, as needed. The ships have space for 20 crew cabins, a mess, 2 lounges and a gym. Check out the specs here.

The 58m long vessels can also carry and transfer cargo, such as fuel and fresh water. The high, enclosed bow and a wheelhouse set back toward the center of the vessel reduce the impact of large waves, know as green water, that are not broken into spray when they make contact with the bow.

Experience a treacherous North Sea storm in this amazing video taken aboard a 150 foot ERRV during winter storm Gertrude in January of 2016. Conditions like these are what make the Caterpillar C18 generator set the choice power supply for the Grampian Fortress and her sister ship.

As reported by Offshore Support Journal in September of 2016, "The diesel-electric propulsion arrangement was selected because it offers several advantages, including greater propulsion redundancy, flexibility, reduced fuel consumption and hence reduced emissions. The vessel has four main generators sets of 599kW each, driven by high speed engines to generate the vessel’s electrical power for propulsion and all consumers on the ship. Each generating set comprises a Caterpillar C18 engine with two gensets connected to it." 

The Caterpillar C18 generator sets also supply power to a Dacon rescue crane and scoop basket. This apparatus is used to retrieve survivors from the water during storms when deploying the on-board rescue boats would be too dangerous.

Diesel marine engines are the best choice for ERRVs for several reasons, the first of which is torque. Diesel engines develop more torque because of greater mass and higher compression ratios. They also develop more horsepower on the lower end of their RPM curve, rather than the higher end like a lighter gasoline engine. This makes them able to pull heavier loads under more resistance with greater efficiency.

As explained by David Pascoe in Yacht Survey Online, "There is also an issue of kinetic energy, which is energy that builds up in rotating parts such as flywheels, which helps sustain the load. Another advantage is that the diesel will develop that power with significantly less fuel."

Less fuel can translate to either smaller fuel tanks or greater range. Smaller, lighter marine craft that don't have to pull heavy loads or run for extended periods of time are better off with lighter, less expensive gasoline engines.

Is the Caterpillar C18 Generator set right for your marine application? Contact us at Depco Power Systems for generators, engines and industrial power equipment, worldwide.

Tags: generator set, caterpillar c18

    Subscribe via Email

    New Call-to-action
    New Call-to-action

    Latest Posts

    Follow Depco