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Fishing - Commercial

H M Customs Cutter - Valiant

HMCC Valiant At Scrabster
HMCC Valiant may be seen from time to time at Scrabster, Caithness as she patrols the coastal areas of the north of Scotland.  Valiant was named at a ceremony on 10th June 2004 at St Katherine's Dock, East London by Mrs Pamela Byrne, wife of Customs' Director General of Law Enforcement, Terry Byrne.

HMCC Valiant is part of our modern, intelligence-led Customs service and is the latest cutter to join the fleet. She and her crew will patrol and protect the UK coastline 24 hours a day, all year round, using up-to-date technology, intelligence and highly-skilled staff to combat smuggling and enforce Customs controls".

Valiant is a high-tech, 42 metre vessel built for HM Customs and Excise by Dutch shipbuilders Damen Shipyards and replaces a vessel of the same name. One of a highly successful class of fast patrol craft, she boasts sophisticated navigation, surveillance and communications equipment.

HMCC Valiant Technical Information
Her Majesty's Customs Cutter Valiant, the latest addition to the fleet of Customs Cutters

HMCC Valiant is one of four Damen Shipyard's 42m class vessels to be built for Her Majesty's Customs & Excise and replaces a vessel of the same name.

Built by Damen Shipyards, Gorinchem, Holland, she is designed to combat smuggling, protect the UK coastline and enforce the canalised system of Customs control  - ensuring vessels only dock and land cargo at Customs approved ports. One of a highly successful class of fast patrol craft, she boasts sophisticated navigation, surveillance and communications equipment. The operations room and accommodation layout has been designed to achieve greater efficiency and endurance. With her advanced tracking and excellent sea keeping capabilities, HMCC Valiant will be a worthy successor and an excellent addition to the Customs fleet.

The design of HMCC Valiant is a development of the earlier Damen Stan Patrol 4100 produced for the Netherlands, Antilles and Aruba Coastguard under contract from the Royal Netherlands Navy.

Principal dimensions
Length overall:  42.80 m
Beam:  7.11 m
Draft:  2.52 m
Air Draft:  17.50 m

General Description
The vessel has been designed to carry out a wide range of Law Enforcement duties and tailored to meet the specific operational requirements of HM Customs & Excise.

Hull and Superstructure Construction
The hull and superstructure has been designed and constructed to meet the requirements of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and Lloyds Register of Shipping.

The main structure of the hull, up to and including the weather-deck and all transverse watertight bulkheads are constructed from welded mild steel. The marine grade aluminium alloy superstructure is welded to the hull using explosively - bonded structural transitional joints to obviate corrosion due to electrolytic action.

The superstructure accommodates an upper "flying" bridge, wheelhouse, operations room, Commander's and Chief Engineer's cabins, ships office, mess area and galley. Below deck the hull is divided into five watertight compartments including main and auxiliary machinery spaces and accommodation.

Special care has been taken to provide a high standard of living accommodation for the crew during operations. Low noise levels and a relaxation area for those off-watch reduces crew fatigue. The large, well-equipped galley is designed to enable the crew to prepare meals and drinks in all sea conditions.

Engines and Electrical Outfit
The propulsion is provided by twin Caterpillar 3516B DI-TA ELEC engines, driving two variable pitch propellers via Reintjes Gearboxes. The variable pitch propellers provided a loitering capability and with forward bow thrusters the vessel has excellent manoeuvrability enabling it to turn within her own length.

Two Caterpillar 3304 DI-T generators sets mounted in the main engine room provide general electrical supplies

The aft deck slipway arrangement for the rapid deployment of the 7m Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat (RHIB) is one of the special features incorporated into the vessel's design. The RHIB is stored in the slip-way recess and can be launched by opening the hydraulic operated transom door and unlocking the quick release hook at the bow. Retrieving the RHIB can be accomplished at speeds of up to 8 knots. The RHIB can drive up the slipway almost to the stowed position under its own power. A hydraulic capstan can then bring the RHIB to the stowed position.

Wheelhouse and Operations Room
The wheelhouse is fully enclosed with windows being fitted in a manner that ensures good all round visibility. In addition to the steering console and engine controls, there is a very comprehensive range of navigational equipment including radar, GPS, echo sounder, speed log, windspeed and direction indicator, Navtex, magnetic and gyro compasses.

The helm controls are replicated on the "flying" bridge allowing the vessel to be controlled from there during boarding and when operating in confined waters. The operations room is fitted with very high quality communications outfit and the latest in operational surveillance equipment.

Anyone with information about illegally imported drugs, tobacco or alcohol or about VAT or fuel fraud; or anyone with information about businesses that break the tax laws, competing unfairly with those that abide by them can speak to a Customs officer in complete confidence. Call Customs Confidential 24 hours a day on 0800 59 5000, or fax 0800 528 0506, write to Freepost SEA9391, PO Box 100, DA12 2BR, or e-mail customs.confidential@hmce.gsi.gov.uk

Any Business needing help or advice can speak to the Customs National Advice Service 8am - 8pm, Monday - Friday on 0845 010 9000.

The earliest known evidence of a London Port Customs Service dates back to 742AD. By 979AD duties were being collected and national industries protected from cheap imports.

The first Customs cutter was purchased in 1149 for 22. Valiant, the latest cutter, cost 4.3 million and will join a fleet of five ships that constantly patrol and protect the UK coastline. Valiant has an estimated lifespan of 20 years.

The vessel has a crew of 12 and is powered by two Caterpillar engines that give a top speed of 26.35 knots.

To combat the drugs threat, the Law Enforcement Directorate has concentrated its efforts into specialist and highly-trained groups of officers (Uniformed Detection Officers, Specialist Investigators and Intelligence Officers) as well as International co-operation.

In the period from April to Dec 2003, Customs took out more than 15,800 kg of Class A drugs destined for the streets of the UK; disrupted or dismantled 70 criminal gangs responsible for smuggling significant quantities of Class A drugs; and recovered 14m of drug-related criminal assets.

To tackle 21st Century criminal threats, Customs must use 21st Century methods. That means building more flexible teams that are intelligence-led and able to be anywhere intelligence tells us there is a threat at any time, whether this is from terrorism, drugs or infected meat.