JMS designs research vessel for Virginia institute

The following is the text of a news release from JMS Naval Architects:

(MYSTIC, Conn.) — JMS Naval Architects has designed a 93-foot ABS load line research vessel for Virginia Institute of Marine Science of Gloucester Point, Va. ( to replace its current research vessel, R/V Bay Eagle. A solicitation will be issued to shipyards by the end of the year.

The primary mission of the institute’s fleet is to provide inshore and offshore work platforms for the support of fisheries-related oceanographic research projects. The new vessel will be capable of conducting fisheries assessments of greater capacity in deeper waters and with a larger science complement than Bay Eagle. In addition, the new vessel will greatly expand VIMS’ capability to perform general oceanographic research in the Chesapeake Bay and the mid-Atlantic near-coastal waters. This design is intended to remain flexible and support a wide range of science missions, oceanographic outfitting, and geographic areas. It is also designed to be affordable to build and operate.

Propulsion is provided by a pair of 660-hp Tier 3 diesel engines coupled to a two-in/one-out marine gear driving a controllable-pitch propeller shrouded within a nozzle. This unique arrangement will provide the capability to operate the vessel efficiently on a single propulsion engine when on station or during slow-speed transits. This system will reduce overall engine hours and thus reduce the cost of operation and improve fuel efficiency, minimizing its environmental footprint. It also powers a very robust hydraulic system required to support the suite of deepwater trawl winches and load-handling equipment. The electrical system is comprised of a pair of 99 kW generators which provide redundant capability or can be run in parallel during peak power demands. LED lighting will reduce both power consumption and heat emitted into the accommodation spaces.

A high-lift rudder and 250-hp azimuthing waterjet bow thruster provide excellent maneuverability. The vessel's capabilities are further enhanced by the installation of a state-of-the-art dynamic positioning (DP) system for station keeping.

The arrangement includes very large wet and dry labs which have been designed for maximum flexibility to accommodate the many types of science that the vessel is expected to conduct. The 1,000-square-foot main working deck allows for a 20-long-ton science payload and provides a significant working platform for conducting fishing operations, over-the-side sampling and coring activities. There is also ample room and services to install a 20-foot science van for specialized science missions. The new research vessel will take advantage of the latest technology through an extensive array of acoustic instrumentation for the gathering and processing of data in support of fisheries research, oceanography and geophysical sciences.

The aft deck is fitted with a stern A-frame with an 8,000-pound safe working load and side J-frame for conducting CTD operations. The principal fishing arrangement consists of a pair of trawl net reels and a pair of trawl winches with 13,000-pound linear pull with 750 fathoms of 5/8-inch wire to support large mesh (400 mm net) bottom trawl surveys offshore with catches up to 7 tons. The winch arrangement can easily be swapped out to conduct smaller mesh surveys within Chesapeake Bay. An electric CTD (conductivity, temperature,and depth) winch with 2,000 meters of 0.322-inch wire will also be fitted for operation from the side-mounted J-frame. There is also a knuckle-boom deck crane with a 2,240-pounds capacity to support load-handling operations.

By Professional Mariner Staff