New research vessel launched for Virginia Institute of Marine Science


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

(MYSTIC, Conn.) — The 93-foot research vessel R/V Virginia, designed by JMS Naval Architects for the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS), was launched this week after 18 months of construction by Meridien Maritime Reparation of Matane, Quebec.

JMS was competitively awarded a contract from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science to provide concept through contract-level design, shipyard bid support, and on-site owner’s representative/construction oversight services including tests and sea trials.

The primary mission of the VIMS’ fleet of research vessels is to provide inshore and offshore work platforms for the support of fisheries related oceanographic research projects. The new vessel Virginia is capable of conducting fisheries assessments of a much greater capacity, in deeper waters, and with a larger science complement. In addition, Virginia will greatly expand VIMS’ capability to perform general oceanographic research in the Chesapeake Bay and the mid-Atlantic near coastal waters.

JMS designed the vessel to operate as an uninspected research vessel with an ABS Loadline. The design offers flexibility in science outfitting allowing for high utilization and affordable operating day rates. The vessel is easily adaptable to evolving scientific research areas such as offshore oil and gas exploration surveys, wind energy development surveys, environmental impact studies, and the servicing of ocean observing systems.

Main 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 will reduce overall engine hours and thus reduce the cost of operation and improve fuel efficiency, minimizing its environmental footprint. The gearbox also powers a very robust hydraulic system required to support the suite of deep water 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-performance rudder package and 250-hp omnidirectional flush mounted grid bow thruster provide excellent maneuverability. The vessel’s capabilities are further enhanced by a state-of-the-art dynamic positioning system for station keeping.

Oceanographic outfitting 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 for over the stern lifting operations and a side-mounted J-frame with an 4,000-pound safe working load for conducting CTD operations. The principal fishing arrangement consists of a pair of trawl net reels and a pair of trawl winches with 4,000-pound linear pull with 355 fathoms of 3/8-inch wire to support small mesh (200-mm net) bottom trawl surveys inshore and nearshore waters. 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-pound capacity at a 33-foot reach to support load handling operations.

By Professional Mariner Staff