Waterfront – Fraser River: Steveston and the South Arm Arktos Craft Certainly among the more unusual vessels you’ll find in the Fraser River, these two amphibious evacuation craft, A1-A2 and B1-B2, were undergoing sea trials at the launch ramp and wharf in front of Don McNiece’s Bridgeview Marine. They were designed and built by Arktos Developments Ltd. (Surrey) for use in the oil and gas industry during emergency evacuations (52 person cap., USCG certified) from icebound sites and other hard to reach places. These two amphibians are capable of 5.5 knots over water and 16 km/h on land/ice and can climb from water onto ice using a specially designed tread on a four-track drive system. Each unit has an frp (e-glass/Kevlar) hull and its own rearmounted 260 hp Cummins 6BTA 5.9 (MJW) diesel engine (bottom photo) linked via an Allison MT643 automatic 4-speed transmission through a John Deere 1400 series axle to the tracks. Two powered units make up one craft. Controls are in a single steering station on the front unit. Tracks drive the vehicle over land and ice and 14” Nomera Marine Jets in each unit provide in-water propulsion. Two units are joined by an articulating hydraulic arm (middle photo) that gives these craft unusual climbing and ‘reach’ capabilities. When these photos were taken a team from Arktos was testing hydraulics systems, engine/drives, and fire suppression systems (note the water nozzles around the upper perimeter of the cabins) prior to a Coast Guard inspection. Both craft are bound for the North Slope oil fields in Alaska. Arktos hydraulics specialist, Vern Nerbas, says the company has delivered the amphibious evacuation craft to harsh places throughout the Northern Hemisphere, including one he recently accompanied by air transport to Kazakhstan on the Caspian Sea. – D.R.
Original Article published in the WESTERN MARINER March 2007