Oregon State University will issue a request for proposals on Monday, August 15, for a project to construct up to three advanced regional class research vessels to help replenish the aging United States academic fleet.
The research vessels will be 58 metres in length, with a range greater than 5,000 nautical miles. Cruising speed is 11 knots with a maximum speed of 12.5 knots, and there are 16 berths for scientists and 13 for crew members.
OSU will implement a two-stage “best value procurement process” for selecting a single shipyard in the United States to construct the vessels, which allows the university to evaluate proposals on qualitative factors in addition to cost factors.
In January 2013, the National Science Foundation selected OSU as the lead institution to finalise the design and coordinate the construction of a vessel and possibly up to two more.
The regional class research vessels are designed for studying coastal waters out to beyond the continental rise as part of the US academic fleet that is available to all ocean scientists conducting federal- and state-funded research and educational programs.
The deadline for submitting the first stage of proposals is September 29. Final selection of a shipyard is anticipated to take place in April 2017. Delivery of the first ship, which will be operated by Oregon State University, is expected in fall of 2020.