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These vessels are designed for various jobs including towing, mooring, pushing, buoy and anchor handling, survey work, hose handling, dredge support, pollution control, fish-farm operations, and delivering supplies. They have more deck space than shoalbuster types.
With very shallow drafts, typically under 2.5 metres, multicats make excellent anchor handling vessels. The largest now exceed 50 tonnes bollard pull, working on a maximum 3-metre draft and have dynamic positioning (DP) capability; the smallest, 16-metre multicats can be transported by road and are popular for river and port work.
A multicat’s hull is normally a simple rectangular pontoon shape with a wide beam. Conventional twin screw or triple screw propulsion is used to keep draft to a minimum. A towing hook or bollard is installed aft and a powerful winch amidships. The winch is commonly double drum used for towing, lifting and anchor-handling. An open foredeck is used as a working and cargo area and at least one powerful hydraulic deck crane is installed.