Teesport invests £1.35m in pilot vessel to support future trade growth on the River Tees

Formerly a PD Ports apprentice, newly-qualified hydrographic surveyor Mia MacDonald officially christened the Stainsby in a socially distanced ceremony at Teesport. Pic by Doug Moody.

PD Ports, owner of Teesport and legal guardians of the River Tees, has welcomed the arrival of a new £1.35m pilot vessel, Stainsby, to its fleet.

Mia MacDonald, who has recently finished her apprenticeship at PD Ports and is now a qualified hydrographic surveyor, officially christened the vessel in a small, socially distanced ceremony.

Affectionately named Stainsby after one of the original four villages that later became Middlesbrough, the vessel will facilitate the safe transportation of pilots to and from vessels as they enter the river.

The state-of-the-art Stainsby will replace the Coatham pilot vessel, who will now find a new home at the Port of Tyne after racking up an impressive 800,000 miles servicing the River Tees over a 20-year period.

PD Ports CEO Frans Calje said: “As the legal guardians for the River Tees our primary job is ensuring safe navigation for vessels.

“It is our duty to ensure the river is managed safely and effectively when fulfilling its potential to support future trade growth across the Tees Valley and the UK as a whole.

“Together with fellow businesses along the river, Teesport already contributes in excess of £1.4 billion to the economy each year.

“This investment will enable Teesport to continue servicing the river and the region as we secure the Tees Valley in pole position for international trade growth opportunities.”

At the forefront of tackling climate change, the Stainsby, which can travel at speeds of up to 24knots, also boasts a low emission engine to help keep fuel consumption and environmental impact as low as possible.

The vessel also features touch screen navigation and dynamic shock monitoring that will ensure safety of the crew in all weather conditions meaning that the Port, and the river, can remain operational at all times.

Harbour master Paul Brooks said: “The arrival of the Stainsby means that we have the best technology, built to the highest engineering standards, which will provide a safe and stable platform for pilots and keep Teesport open for business.

“The pilot vessels, alongside our dedicated crew, are instrumental in keeping the Port operating 24/7, 365 days a year, no matter what challenging conditions we are faced with.”

In its role as the Statutory Harbour Authority, PD Ports is responsible for the safe navigation of vessels, maintenance and management of the river.

The port operator is one of the largest employers in the region, attracting over £1 billion of investment and creating 2,500 direct jobs in the past decade.