I’m happy to announce that last Friday OSU executed the first contract option with Gulf Island Shipyard to procure a second RCRV. NSF made an award to OSU last week that allowed us to move forward with the second ship. We’re all excited to make this happen! NSF hasn’t announced exactly where the ship will be going or who will operate it, but they’re getting closer to making that determination.
Whoever it will be, OSU is standing by to work closely with them to make a few decisions that will be necessary to customize the ship to its operating region. Though the RCRV class will be very consistent in terms of machinery, over the side equipment, navigation systems, etc., the vessels will have a few (what we call) “regional differences” and these will need to be finalized relatively quickly. For example, and perhaps most obviously, the (to be selected) operating institution (OI) will need to choose a color scheme for their vessel. I suppose they might like OSU’s choice of Orange and Black with an angry beaver on the bow, but if not, they’ll have an opportunity to customize their own scheme. Though NSF will retain ownership of all RCRVs, they grant the operators a certain discretion when it comes to appearance (as long as NSF’s logo remains prominent!).
The image we created for the second ship has a dark blue that is very similar to that used by many current UNOLS operators from WHOI to SCRIPPS to University of Alaska and many more. We’re also going to get input on the galley layout, as kitchen layout seems to be a very personal preference. Internal color schemes will be chosen as well. On the science side, the OI will need to let us know if they think that a shallow water or mid ocean depth multi beam would be preferred (for ocean mapping). After delivery, the OIs will layout and outfit the labs, the mess, and the staterooms according to their tastes and requirements.
In terms of delivery of the second vessel, one point remains firm. It will not be delivered to OSU by GIS any sooner than six months after delivery of the first ship. We actually wrote that into the contract in order to ensure that OSU’s shipyard staff had enough capacity to work the delivery trials fully for each ship. We’ve got a pretty limited staff and we just can’t handle two ships going through trials at the same time. We also think this approach will allow us to apply the focus needed to properly transition the vessels after delivery.
In order to incorporate these “regional differences” and other changes learned from the detailed design process of the first ship, another round of Design Verification and Transfer (DVT) is scheduled solely for the second ship. It will be much shorter in duration, but time is needed to ensure that the second ship’s detailed plan is accurate before we launch into construction.
Ok. That’s it for now. We’ve got two ships to build! As always, feel free to subscribe to this blog using the link above. Thanks for reading. /d