The Port of Lowestoft’s new state-of-the-art pilot boat became the latest addition to the town’s fleet, having been built by Norfolk-based, family-owned Goodchild Marine.
Earlier this year, St Mary’s Primary School held a competition to name the new boat, with the chosen name of Kingfisher following in the tradition of using bird names at the port.
Mayor of Lowestoft Alice Taylor said: “When you talk about investment it can get all very accountancy and people don’t always see what is going on, but here is something people can touch and see.
“It is something cutting edge for this town with internationally renowned technology because the people of Lowestoft have the skills to do this work.”
The boat represents an investment of £670,000 in the Port of Lowestoft from Associated British Ports (ABP), while new pontoons and facilities bring the total investment to £800,000 in recent months.
Andrew Harston, ABP’s Wales and short sea ports director, said: “The new vessel provides the combination of speed, significantly improved fuel efficiency and enhanced safety standards and features compared with previous models, and we are proud to use the engineering knowhow and innovation from a skilled local manufacturer.
“By investing in our capabilities, we make sure the Port of Lowestoft stays up-to-date and can continue to offer the very best services available to our customers.”
Tim Jenkins, from the Lowestoft Fishermen’s Mission, blessed the boat before it was traditionally christened with champagne. He said; “It is a beautiful day in a beautiful town.
“It is a real honour and privilege to be here working in association with ABP.
“It can be cold and wet and foggy but these dedicated pilots and boat crew are prepared to help their fellow seafarers in all conditions.”
Alan Goodchild, managing director of Goodchild, said: “It has been a privilege to continue our long-standing relationship with ABP and the port, having built the last pilot boat Osprey nearly 25 years ago.
“The project has helped to secure industry prosperity and safeguarded existing local jobs throughout all stages of construction, maintenance and operation.
“Kingfisher is the fist of its size in the UK and benefits from all the features of Goodchild Marine’s flagship ORC range, which is designed to achieve the highest standards of quality and performance.”