Research and training vessels are an interesting breed. First, they are relatively uncommon. They are also usually owned by governments. This week, however, we have some unusual vessels in that two, albeit closely related examples, are privately owned.
An interesting trend revealed by this week’s reviews is that research vessels are increasingly required to be multi-purpose in order to justify their usually high cost. Further, in an attempt to appear “Green”, government owners have paid some lip service with their choice of diesel-electric or LNG fuelled propulsion systems.
The two 60-metre, Remontowa designed and built Polish government research vessels are interesting, principally because they have been very multi-tasked. As well as hydrographic and oceanographic research, the Zodiak II and Planet I are expected to act as ice-breakers, oil-spill recovery, fire-fighting and SAR vessels, as well as salvage tugs and buoy tenders. Quite a list of jobs for these diesel-electric craft.
Damen Ship Repair’s massive refit/re-build of the former OSV/IMR to an 87-metre private research vessel and mobile mini-Hollywood film studio shows just how far you can go with a research vessel if unlimited funds are available. In the case of American billionaire Ray Dalio, who owns OceanXplorer, this appears to be the case.
Marine Research • Maritime Training • Maritime Archaeology
His yacht-like vessel is capacious and capable of going almost everywhere. Equipped with helicopter, submersibles, ROV and UAV, it also has a fully-equipped film studio and a Metal Shark-built 11.5-metre support boat that is a research vessel in its own right. The whole project is mind blowing in its immensity. Nevertheless, the vessel and its subsidiary craft are now off on a major expedition for National Geographic.
Moving back to reality, or at least normality, we look at the Rozema Boat Yard’s refit/re-build of Oregon State University’s 17-metre research vessel Elakha. The work here involved re-engining, re-wiring and, presumably re-plumbing an ageing aluminium workhorse.
Germany’s renowned Fassmer Shipyard has produced Atair as a showcase of modern, top quality German marine technology. This 75-metre German Government-owned vessel can also handle a multitude of roles apart from its primary one of surveying and preparing the shallow sea bottom around northern Germany in readiness for wind farming development. The LNG-fuelled Atair can handle wreck search and removal, SAR and emission monitoring, among other jobs.
Unfortunately, there is not much on the training front but the research vessels we present this week surely provide enough evidence of innovation and development to fill you with information and ideas.
- VESSEL REFIT | Elakha – Oregon State University research vessel gets propulsion upgrade after 20 years in service
- Zodiak II & Planeta I – “All-purpose” workboats will perform a huge variety of tasks for the Polish Government
- VESSEL REFIT | OceanXplorer – OceanX’s highly impressive new floating research laboratory and film studio
- New research tender for OceanX’s newly converted research vessel
- Atair – State-of-the-art dual-fuel research vessel for the German government
News, Gear and Book Reviews:
- Hurtigruten’s smallest ship to be repurposed as training vessel
- Australia’s newest icebreaker begins sea trials
- Vard, Serco join Davie icebreaker design team
- DLBA tapped to support DARPA’s unmanned surface ship programme
- Japanese partners test new autonomous navigation system
- SeaRobotics unveils new utility class ASV
- Atlas Elektronik UK delivers new Royal Navy training vessel
- Faroe Marine Research Institute takes delivery of locally built vessel
- Five Bangladesh Navy ships commissioned into service
- Icebreaker Viktor Chernomyrdin delivered to Rosmorport
- European Investment Bank to finance construction of Italian Navy’s future hydrographic ships
- Research ship Sir David Attenborough departs for sea trials
Recent Vessel Reviews:
- Cassiopee – Innovative hybrid-powered boat to perform hydrographic duties at French Port of La Rochelle
- Capt. Jacques Cartier – Second in class of three large coast guard ships built for fisheries research missions in Canadian waters
- Xue Long 2 – Highly versatile 122-metre newbuild for China’s polar research missions
Recent Important Features:
– “While USV technology is potentially applicable to a broad scope of Coast Guard law enforcement missions, the primary focus of this evaluation is its ability to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.”
– “The decision for the refit was…the result of a long-term gradual change in focus by the [Swedish Coastguard] towards environmental monitoring and protection.”
– by Nelson Dela Cruz, Baird Maritime‘s Philippines correspondent
Remember to come back every day to see the latest news, opinion and vessel reviews!
Call for content!
Any news or views about the marine research and training industry? Send it through to [email protected] ASAP (between now and December 4), so we can add it to this current edition of Research and Training Week!
We are after:
- Vessels – Orders, new deliveries, under construction
- Gear – Latest innovations and technology in the marine research and training sectors
- Interviews – Owners, operators, marine research institutes, maritime training schools, etc.
- Reminiscences – Do you have any exciting, amusing or downright dangerous anecdotes from your time in the research and training vessel world? (example here)
- Other – Any other relevant news