VESSEL REVIEW | Tom Crean – Multi-disciplinary vessel enters service with Ireland’s Marine Institute

Photo: Skipsteknisk
Photo: Skipsteknisk

Spain's Armon Shipyard has delivered a new research vessel ordered by the Marine Institute of Ireland.

Designed by Norwegian naval architecture firm Skipsteknisk, the Lloyd's Register-classed Tom Crean will provide a year-round service for expanded fisheries surveys, seabed mapping, deep water surveys, and oceanographic and environmental research. The vessel will enable 300 operational days at sea each year and up to 3,000 scientist days per year.

<em>Photo: Marine Institute</em>
Photo: Marine Institute

The new vessel's namesake is a renowned Irish seaman and explorer who undertook three major expeditions to the Antarctic in the early years of the twentieth century. Crean volunteered for Sir Robert Falcon Scott's Discovery expedition in 1901 and for his Terra Nova expedition in 1910. In 1914, Crean joined Sir Ernest Shackleton on the Endurance expedition.

Tom Crean has an LOA of 52.8 metres, a beam of 14 metres, a draught of 5.2 metres, accommodations for 12 crewmembers and 14 scientists, and a range of 8,000 nautical miles. The vessel also has a DP1 dynamic positioning system and capacity for three 20-foot containers.

<em>Photo: Armon Shipyard</em>
Photo: Armon Shipyard

The vessel is designed to incorporate proven technologies to ensure that it operates as efficiently as possible, with reduced fuel consumption and environmental impact. It will be capable of near-silent operations throughout the Irish Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and will be able to stay out at sea for 21 days at a time. The design therefore complies with the stringent criteria of the ICES 209 noise standard for fisheries research.

The wheelhouse provides full 360-degree visibility to also allow the bridge crew to oversee operations on the aft deck.

<em>Photo: Armon Shipyard</em>
Photo: Armon Shipyard

The propulsion arrangement includes two 1,350kW main engines and a 400kW auxiliary driving a 2,000kW motor. Lateral manoeuvring is aided by a 780kW bow thruster and a 400kW stern tunnel thruster.

The accommodation spaces include cabins, a lounge, a galley, a mess, a gym, and an onboard hospital. The deck machinery meanwhile includes Ibercisa winches and a stern A-frame.

<em>Photo: Armon Shipyard</em>
Photo: Armon Shipyard

Based in Galway, the vessel will be used by the Marine Institute, other state agencies, and universities to undertake research and surveys. It will also maintain and deploy weather buoys, observational infrastructure, and the Marine Institute's remotely operated vehicle (ROV) Holland I.

Tom Crean has since replaced Celtic Voyager, which came into service as a marine research vessel in 1997.

<em>Photo: Armon Shipyard</em>
Photo: Armon Shipyard
Tom Crean
Type of vessel:Research vessel
Classification:Lloyd's Register
Owner:Marine Institute, Ireland
Designer:Skipsteknisk, Norway
Builder:Armon Shipyard, Spain
Length overall:52.8 metres
Beam:14 metres
Draught:5.2 metres
Capacity:3 TEUs
Main engines:2 x 1,350 kW
Propulsion:2,000 kW
Auxiliary engine:400 kW
Side thrusters:780 kW; 400 kW
Range:8,000 nautical miles
Dynamic positioning:DP1
Accommodation:Cabins; lounge; galley; mess; gym; hospital

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