We’re off to a good start!

I’ve had several requests from the community to find a way to get the word out as to what’s happening with the construction of the RCRV’s.  Good suggestion, I thought, so I’m hereby starting this blog series that I’ll use to pass along updates and issues as they arise. Feel free to post comments or questions and I’ll do my best to respond.  Needless to say, inappropriate comments will not see the light of day, but I won’t censor constructive criticism.  We’ll see how this goes…

So, after a thorough and lengthy selection process, we’re on contract with Gulf Island Shipyard in Houma, LA to construct the first of what will hopefully be three great ships for the NSF and U.S. ocean science community.   We’re currently in the process of establishing OSU’s shipyard office on site.  The staff have been itching to get started for a long time, so it feels great to be making progress towards getting the keel laid. If all goes as planned, we hope to see that occur next spring.

In the meantime, the shipyard staff and Gulf Island will be working together (with our engineers from The Glosten Associates hereafter referred to as “Glosten”) to take our bid-ready ship design and turn it into a production ready package.  This process, called “Design Verification and Transfer” or DVT,  is where we verify Glosten’s design, make any tweaks as necessary to make it work for the shipyard construction processes, and then transfer it from Glosten to the shipyard (and its engineering team from Gibbs and Cox Marine Solutions, hereafter called “Gibbs and Cox”).  They’ll be going through every aspect of the ship from stem to stern, looking at every pipe and deck fitting; it’s a very detailed and lengthy process. And although it will take months to go through everything, it will save time in the end by minimizing re-work.  Think of the adage: Proper Prior Preparation Prevents Poor Performance.  We’re doing our prior preparation here…

One science-related issue that’s recently been discussed has to do with how the vessel will support sediment coring activities at sea. The RCRV program is currently working with OSU’s Marine Sediment Sampling Group (MARSSAM) to ensure that our new ships will be able to fully support obtaining cores from the ocean bottom of up to 50′ long. We’re working on an innovative solution that will be able to take advantage of the ship’s double articulated stern A-frame to bring them safely on board. Stay tuned for more on that as it develops.

Ok.  That’s good for the opening salvo into the blog-o-sphere.  I’ll try to get one of these posted every week or as interesting issues arise. Stay tuned!  /d

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5 Responses to We’re off to a good start!

  1. Chris Romsos says:

    Excellent work Demian, looking forward to the construction process and your weekly updates. -Chris

  2. DBWheeler says:

    This is very good idea to keep people informed. Maybe you should put the web address in the Corvallis GazetteTimes so more locals could know about this important work in Oregon? Best of luck in this huge undertaking!

  3. Captain Robert Brown says:

    Is the vessel going to utilize DP-2 capabilities? I would highly recommend it be implemented in such a nice vessel. It would be well worth it. In the future it could enhance the vessels opportunities for jobs.

    • baileyd says:

      Capt. Brown,
      Thanks for the comment. When we first started the design refresh for the RCRV we looked carefully at what type of Dynamic Position we should have. Many research vessels have DP-0, which as you know requires little to no redundancy built in. Some of these vessels with DP are even single shaft. We looked at the requirements for the vessel and the types of missions they’ll be expected to accomplish and it became clear that the biggest bang for the buck for us was DPS-1. As a regional class, we concluded that the space trade-offs on board for all the redundant consoles and other redundancy requirements in the engine spaces was not worth it as it added no extra capability but did add to lifetime maintenance costs. Nonetheless, we did add a second bow thruster making our ships a sort of DPS-1+ (not a real notation, but that was what we called it internally). So on the bow, we have both a tunnel thruster and a drop-down azimuthing thruster. The tunnel thruster will be useful when docking or operating in shallow water. When these bow thrusters are considered with the two push/pull stern thrusters, these ships are going to be incredibly maneuverable, safe, and possess adequate redundancy for vessels of this class. DP-2 vessels as I understand it are typically required for sensitive station keeping operations such as near off shore oil platforms where the consequence of failure could be catastrophic.

      • Captain Robert Brown says:

        Yes, the redundancy factor would apply to work with energy companies near offshore assets. Having that in place may or may not help in future work or contracts. But I would assume it will not be the targeted work scope for that vessel. Just a thought in case that type of work in the Gulf of Mexico could be on the books later. Oceaneering is currently utilizing one of our vessels for coral research in the Gulf of Mexico with a special ROV. DP -2 is our standard.

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