New All-Electric Versi-Cat Trash Skimmer Boat for the Port of Brussels
Philippe Herman- Harbour Master Port of Brussels
The Port of Brussels has recently taken delivery of a Water Witch all-electric litter collection vessel called ‘Damona’ in an effort to combat floating trash. It was launched on June 2, in the presence of the Brussels Minister Alain Maron, in charge of the Environment and the Port of Brussels, and Philippe Herman, Harbour Master of the Port of Brussels. ‘Damona’ will criss cross the 14 kilometers of the canal in the Brussels-Capital Region in search of waste floating on the waterway. It is the first electric and zero-emission boat acquired by the Port of Brussels. Each year, between 200 and 250 m3 of ocean bound plastics and debris are recovered by the Port’s waste collection service.
The name ‘Damona’ which is a homage to the Gallic Godess of springs and rivers was chosen by the teams of the harbor master’s office of the Port of Brussels, who will use the boat on a daily basis. The vessel was built by British company Water Witch, based in Liverpool, after a call for tenders launched by the Port of Brussels in 2021.
This new, emission free boat reinforces the ability of the Port of Brussels to improve the cleanliness of the 80 ha of water body that represent the 14 km of canal in the Brussels-Capital Region.
At present, the cleaning teams go out almost every day and single-use plastic is the top contributor. The majority of marine litter collected is plastic products such a beverage bottles, plastic bags, food wrappers, cups and trays. In addition, the crews fish out larger items such as bicycles, mattresses, and dumped waste on the banks. For Brussels Minister Alain Maron, “cleanliness is a common good. It is essential for our quality of life and the quality of our environment. The canal being the lowest point of our Region and also a gigantic storm basin, it collects a good part of the waste generated by urban life, which must be collected regularly so that it does not flow into the sea”, he comments.The 8.0m Electric aluminium VersiCat trash skimmer is sustainably built from up to 75% recycled content and fully recyclable at the end of it’s life. She is equipped with a 12kw Cruise 12 Torqeedo motor, allowing her to glide silently across the waters at the 7 knots required, and the Power 48 Lithium batteries are the most up to date and safest on the market. The vessel’s electric controls feature a built-in GPS, an on-board computer and display for information such as speed and input power, state of charge and remaining range, and even an advance communication system that links user’s Bluetooth and App technology to the complete system. Jackie Caddick, Director of Water Witch, says there has been a huge increase interest for electric vessels, with some existing owners even looking to upgrade their current vessels. “We’ve kept with the outboard configuration to make installation quick and cost effective, and maintaining the ability to keep our hull configurations to a standard design, which reduces manufacturing time and costs. With over 95 of these vessels currently in service world-wide, we expect to see an increasing demand for the zero-emission option with clients looking to improve their carbon footprint.”
Electric propulsion is advancing fast, and by concentrating on building 100% electric systems (not just the motor but all on-board equipment) and from environmentally friendly, sustainable materials, we are able to offer a unique design that is a world first.The Port of Brussels, a regional company, manages 14 kilometers of waterways and 6 kilometers of useful quays in the Brussels region. The Brussels port area represents 107 hectares of usable area, where nearly two hundred companies are located. In 2021, 7.1 million tonnes were transported by waterway, i.e. the equivalent of 664,000 trucks. For several years the Port of Brussels have been promoting awareness campaigns to help make the population responsible for public cleanliness in the vicinity of the canal.
Contact – Jackie Caddick +44 (0)151 207 4874 or email@example.com