Matane, Quebec, Canada-based Meridien Maritime Reparation is building a 93'x28'x12.7' research vessel for the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, Gloucester Point, Va. The new boat will replace the institute’s current 65' vessel, Bay Eagle.

Designed by JMS Naval Architects, Mystic, Conn., 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, which has a 9'6" draft, will be capable of conducting fisheries assessments of greater capacity, in deeper waters and with a larger science complement than the Bay Eagle. In addition, the new vessel will expand VIMS’s capability to perform general oceanographic research in the Chesapeake Bay and the mid-Atlantic near coastal waters. The state-of-the-art research vessel will offer big capabilities in a small package that is also economic to build and operate, JMS officials said in a release, which included no equipment manufacturers' names.

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 boat will be able to adapt 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 will be 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. The 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 will also power a very robust hydraulic system required to support the suite of deep water trawl winches and load handling equipment.

The electrical system will be comprised of a pair of 99 kW generators, which will 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 bowthruster will enhance maneuverability.

The new boat’s capabilities are designed to be further enhanced by a state-of-the-art dynamic positioning system for station keeping.

JMS designed the new vessel to operate as an uninspected research vessel. JMS image

JMS designed the new vessel to operate as an uninspected research vessel. JMS image

Oceanographic outfitting includes very large wet and dry laboratories, which have been designed for maximum flexibility to accommodate the many types of science experiments that the vessel is expected to conduct. The 1,000 sq. ft. main working deck will allow for a 20 LT science payload and will provide a significant working platform for conducting fishing operations, over-the-side sampling and coring activities.

There will also be ample room and services to install a 20' science van for specialized science missions. The new research vessel will take advantage of the latest technology through an array of acoustic instrumentation for the gathering and processing of data in support of fisheries research, oceanography and geophysical sciences.

The aft deck will be fitted with a stern A-Frame with an 8,000-lb. safe working load for over the stern lifting operations and a side mounted J-Frame with an 4,000-lb. safe working load for conducting CTD operations. The principal fishing arrangement will consist of a pair of trawl net reels and a pair of trawl winches with 4,000 lb. linear pull with 355 fathoms of 3/8" wire to support small mesh (200 mm net) bottom trawl surveys inshore and near shore waters. An electric CTD (Conductivity, Temperature, and Depth) winch with 2,000 m of 0.32" wire will also be fitted for operation from the side mounted J-Frame. There will also be a knuckle boom deck crane with a 2,240-lb. capacity at a 33' reach to support load-handling operations.


Ken Hocke has been the senior editor of WorkBoat since 1999. He was the associate editor of WorkBoat from 1997 to 1999. Prior to that, he was the editor of the Daily Shipping Guide, a transportation daily in New Orleans. He has written for other publications including The Times-Picayune. He graduated from Louisiana State University with an arts and sciences degree, with a concentration in English, in 1978.