RDC, Fugro bringing Arctic-class ship to Newfoundland

The following is the text of a news release from the Research & Development Corp.:

(ST. JOHN'S, Newfoundland and Labrador) — The Research & Development Corp. (RDC) is pleased to announce a $4.9 million investment in a multipurpose survey, support and research and development vessel to be stationed in St. John’s. The total cost to design, build and operate such a vessel over a 10-year period is estimated at more than $100 million, which will be funded by Fugro GeoSurveys (FGI). RDC’s investment directly targets the research and development capabilities, equipment and operations of the vessel, which will be built and operated by Fugro GeoSurveys.

“Newfoundland and Labrador has an innovative ocean technology sector that will greatly benefit from a vessel providing dedicated time for research endeavors. This vessel will provide the necessary infrastructure for more offshore research activities and represents another step in strengthening our position as the pathway to the Arctic,” said the Honorable Darin King, minister of Business, Tourism, Culture and Rural Development.

RDC’s $4.9 million investment is being provided under its Petroleum R&D Accelerator Program. This funding program focuses on leveraging R&D investments with significant potential to impact petroleum exploration, development and operations. The multipurpose vessel will provide long-term supply and service opportunities for local companies. While its core activities will consist of industry work, Fugro will dedicate 90 days per year for research and development activities.

“This is a purpose-built, modern ice-class vessel capable of supporting research and development for the ocean technology sector, offshore petroleum industry and others. This vessel will complement the suite of world-class research and development facilities currently in this province, and I am confident it will lead to increased offshore and Arctic research and development, commercial testing, and value-added economic activity,” said Glenn Janes, CEO, Research & Development Corp.

The approximately 80-meter vessel, to be built and operated by Fugro GeoSurveys, will permit harsh environment and Arctic research and development work. The estimated completion time for the vessel is March 2017. Once built, the vessel will be based in St. John’s and will have an estimated vessel complement of 40 to 50 professionals.

“There has never been a greater need for a purpose-built marine survey vessel in our region. Our marine-based industries and technologies are continuing to expand, move to deeper waters and harsher environments. This investment will allow us to support our industries growing technical, safety, and science needs as we continue to develop our natural resources," said Mike Cole, president, Fugro Canada Corp.

RDC is a provincial crown corporation responsible for improving Newfoundland and Labrador’s research and development performance. RDC works with research and development stakeholders including business, academia and government agencies and departments to make strategic investments in highly qualified people, R&D infrastructure and innovative research. Additional information about RDC can be found at www.rdc.org.

Additional background

The 80-meter vessel will have accommodations for researchers, custom-built laboratories and training areas, and high-speed data and video uplinks to shore labs and classrooms. Other specifications include dynamic positioning and a fuel efficient diesel-electric propulsion system, hull-mounted seabed mapping and acoustic positioning sensors, a large back deck with cranes and winches, and electrical and hydraulic power for a variety of scientific systems. Acoustic quieting characteristics and Arctic clean-design will help ensure this vessel has minimum impact on the environment.

The vessel will help expand the province's ocean technology R&D capacity by permitting companies to perform product field trials in harsh environments, bringing products closer to commercialization. The project will further enhance the province's R&D capabilities in support of Arctic technology development applicable to the development of offshore petroleum resources. The availability of the vessel will attract international companies, researchers, and organizations that have interest in Arctic opportunities.

By Professional Mariner Staff