On Monday the V.I. Port Authority launched a new vessel, the Earl Larry Finch II, in the harbors of St. Croix. Its first assignment: to escort the Captain Dann tug and barge into the Christiansted Channel as it delivered oil to the V.I. Water and Power Authority’s facility.
The new $500,000 pilot boat purchased by the Port Authority replaces the original Earl Larry Finch vessel that was taken offline last year due to storm damage, according to a statement from VIPA. The island’s harbors had been serviced by one pilot vessel, the Claude Berry, since then, which was quite taxing on VIPA’s pilots and the boat, VIPA Executive Director Carlton Dowe said in a statement.
With this new vessel, the Port Authority now has two pilot boats to help cruise, cargo and private vessels enter into St. Croix’s harbors to berth safely. The Claude Berry is stationed at the Wilfred Allick Port and Transshipment Center, St. Croix’s busiest cargo port. The new pilot boat will service the other seaports on St. Croix.
The Earl Larry Finch II is an all structural-grade welded aluminum, 32-feet long vessel with an enclosed cabin. It is outfitted with brand new state of the art twin 300hp Evinrude ETEC engines and equipped with navigational instruments such as a depth finder and radar.