CHESAPEAKE, Va. — Thomas Paine, the new 50-ft. aluminum patrol boat that joined the Massachusetts Environmental Police fleet in July, is the first commercial vessel in North America to be powered by Volvo Penta IPS propulsion.
Built by Metal Craft Marine Inc., the new vessel is equipped with twin Volvo Penta D11 510hp marine diesel engines driving IPS650 steerable drive units. Power Products, the Volvo Penta Power Center in New England, was responsible for supplying the propulsion system and overseeing installation.
The Volvo Penta IPS consists of a steerable underwater drive unit with two forward-facing counter-rotating propellers. The drive units pull the boat rather than pushing it through the water, thereby increasing efficiency.
“Volvo Penta IPS drives provide 40 percent higher cruising range, 20 percent higher top speed, 30 percent better fuel economy, 30 percent reduction in CO2 emissions and 50 percent reduction in noise levels compared with traditional inboard shaft drives,” said Ron Huibers, president of Volvo Penta of the Americas. “The individually steerable drive units with joystick docking provide a dramatic difference in maneuverability, and the dynamic positioning system (DPS) automatically holds the boat’s position and heading steady on station regardless of winds and currents.”
“We decided to install IPS instead of traditional shafts in the new boat primarily because of its lower fuel consumption and extended cruising range, allowing us to build the boat with a smaller fuel tank, saving space and weight,” said Chris Baker, acting director, Massachusetts Environmental Police. “Because the boat idles a lot on station, the automatic DPS was another critical factor in the decision to go with the Volvo Penta IPS.”
“We are seeing an upsurge of interest in IPS in the American commercial marine industry as builders and boat operators recognize the system’s inherent advantages,” said Huibers. “Volvo Penta IPS is ideal for fast work boats, patrol boats, passenger ferries, pilot boats and wind-farm support vessels up to 30 meters at speeds up to 45 knots.”
The Thomas Paine is the latest addition to the Massachusetts Environmental Police fleet. The Coastal Enforcement Bureau is responsible for patrolling over 4,000 square miles of coastal and territorial waters. They conduct investigations of illegal fishing practices, marine theft cases and enforcement of boat registration and titling requirements. The coastal force mediates disputes between competing fishing interests, such as draggers, gill-netters, lobstermen and recreational anglers. They also provide security patrols during major maritime events such as LNG tanker escorts and tall-ship parades, and during elevated MARSEC levels in Boston harbor.