Home' Ausmarine : November 2013 Contents New South Wales-based boat builder
Steber International has recently
unveiled its Bluebottle project, a bold
new unmanned surface vessel
(USV) series combining cutting-edge
technology with formidable marine
Designed and built in Australia, the
Steber Solar Sail Bluebottle is primarily
tasked with unmanned ocean monitoring,
data collection and surveillance.
"Bluebottles operate on energy available
at sea, including solar, wave and wind,"
"Coupled with the fact that they are
unmanned, this concept is an ideal
platform for low cost ocean surveillance
both above and below the surface."
The Bluebottle's unique design and
technology allow it to endure all weather
conditions and sea states all the while
providing a stable roll-dampened platform
for above and below water surveillance.
Installed with low-cost cameras and
radar, the unit can also provide a
communications link between aerial and
Self-deploying and self-retrieving,
Bluebottles can roam widely or be kept
on-station for extended periods -- "virtually
indefinitely," continued Steber.
Three sizes and iterations of the
Bluebottle concept have been developed,
named the 'Big Blue', 'Blue Stinger' and
'Blue Nemo' respectively.
The 'Big Blue' model has a length
overall of 5.9 metres, a height above
waterline of 3.0 metres and a two-metre
draught. Weighing 1,000kg, the unit can be
fitted with either twin or single solar sails,
has an average sailing speed of four knots, a
payload space of 80kg and 10-day battery
power between charges.
The twin-sail 'Blue Stinger', meanwhile,
measures 3.5 metres in length overall, with
an air draught of 2.5 metres and a draught
of 1.6 metres. Weighing 500kg, the craft
has a three-knot sailing speed, a payload of
40kg and a five-day battery.
Lastly, the 1.9-metre 'Blue Nemo' is the
smallest unit available, with a 1.65-metre
air draught, 0.65-metre draught, 200kg
weight and two-knot sailing speed. With a
payload of 20kg, the vessel is fitted with a
three-day capacity battery. All models come
with modular packing for transport via
Features and capabilities
Primarily designed for intelligence
and data gathering in a marine
environment, the Bluebottle is
self-sustaining with no fuel, crew or
supplies required. Also self-deploying and
retrieving, the unit is able to roam widely
or stay on station, endurance of "months
to years" in all weather conditions.
Featuring a large payload capacity
for customer-supplied sensors and
communications, the unit is able to be
controlled and monitored by one
individual utilising multiple platforms
in a network and a low cost per byte of
A range of sensors is available for each
model, including radar, gyro-stabilised
gimbal camera, hydrophone, and AIS.
Specialised sensors for scientific
measurements of phenomena such as
conductivity, temperature, pressue and
dissolved oxygen can also be installed, as
NSW BOAT BUILDER UNVEILS INNOVATIVE USV
November 2013 AUSMARINE
well as a weather station, multi-spectral
radiometer, scattering and fluorescence
sensors, a downward-looking echosounder
and acoustic telemetric devices with
"specific signature" sound sensors for
whales and marine life.
A new era for Steber?
Primarily targeting the defence
market, the first commercially
sold Bluebottle, the 'TRL 6-7', is due in
March 2014 for the Commonwealth
Scientific and Industrial Research
Organisation (CSIRO), where it will operate
off Australia's coastline, recording and
transmitting oceanographic data. Other
key customers include Australia's
Department of Defence, Marine Rescue,
Fisheries department, the Federal Police,
and Queensland-based tourism operator
Captain Cook Cruises.
The Bluebottle looks to usher in a new
era for Stebercraft International, which has
over sixty years experience selling and
exporting marine craft to navy, fisheries,
police and maritime authorities globally
and with quality assurance rated to
For further information contact:
Steber International, New South Wales.
NAVAL ARCHITECT DESIGNS FERRY FOLLOW UP FOR BOSTON
New South Wales-based naval architect
Incat Crowther has announced the
launch and delivery of the 30-metre
catamaran passenger ferry 'Provincetown
IV' to Bay State Cruise Company of
The vessel was built by USA-based
shipyard Gladding Hearn Shipbuilding, also
of Massachusetts. Gladding Hearn delivered
the earlier vessel 'Provincetown III' in 2004,
which is still in operation today.
According to Incat Crowther, the
operator was so pleased with the previous
vessel's performance and reliability that the
'Provincetown IV' was developed from the
original design -- albeit with an updated
propulsion package for improved
performance and efficiency.
The 30-metre 149-passenger ferry
features 108 interior seats on the main
deck, along with a large bar and toilet
facilities. Bicycle racks are fitted on
gates are fitted to the aft
upper deck, to integrate
with the operator's shore
based infrastructure. 83
exterior seats are fitted to
the upper deck.
Large luggage racks are
fitted on both decks. As
with the 'Provincetown
III', the 'Provincetown
IV' features an isolated
comfort by reducing the
transmission of noise and
vibration to the passenger cabin.
A pair of MTU 16V2000 M72 main
engines, power the 'Provincetown IV',
each producing 1,122kW. On sea trials,
the vessel 'Provincetown IV' cruised
comfortably at 30 knots with a full
load deadweight. She has a top speed
of over 32 knots and a trim tab
ride control system is installed to reduce
For further information contact:
Incat Crowther, New South Wales.
A smaller single-solar sail Bluebottle unit
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