Damen delivers ‘silent’ small research ship

30 Aug 2012
Belgian research vessel ‘Simon Stevin’, recently delivered by Damen

Belgian research vessel ‘Simon Stevin’, recently delivered by Damen

Damen Shipyards of The Netherlands has delivered research vessel RV 3609 ‘Simon Stevin’ to Belgian governmental fleet operator DAB Vloot. A particular feature of the ship is that it is optimised for low underwater noise.

The RV 3609 was jointly designed by Damen Shipyards Gorinchem and VLIZ, the Flemish Institute for the Sea. The hull was built at Damen’s Galati yard in Romania, with outfitting at Maaskant Shipyards in Stellendam (The Netherlands). Damen’s Maaskant yard installed the high-tech research and fishing equipment. The ‘Simon Stevin’ will be used offshore for scientific research on climate change, sustainable fishing, energy production at sea and for educational purposes.

The ship had to comply with extensive and rigorous requirements both as to its footprint and fishing gear. Therefore, the design and lay-out of the vessel is optimised to have very low underwater noise levels and be able to sail in ‘silent mode’. The silent mode complies with ICES (International Council forExploration of the Seas) standard 209, which limits underwater radiated noise. Damen says that at 36m length oa, the RV 3609 is the smallest vessel that complies with these requirements.

The Simon Stevin is powered by two 520 kW electric motors, on flexible mounts. Three generator sets supply the electricity for the propulsion system, the winches and other electrical equipment. Up to 9.5 knots the Simon Stevin is able to sail in ‘silent mode’; its maximum speed is 12 knots. A 200kW bow thruster, part of the vessel’s DP arrangement, ensures manoeuvrability in ports and when performing diving operations.

Equipment includes a tiltable A-frame on the aft deck, a number of winches for hydrographical survey work, soil sampling and fishing. A free deck space of 45 m² allows space for two containers. A pod, integrated in the keel, contains a multi-beam echosounder and other equipment for 3D-imaging of the sea bed. A set of purpose-built fishing winches, installed below-deck, allows several fishing methods to be applied. For pelagic fishing, a Maaskant low-noise and dismantable electrical net drum has been designed and installed for the 8m wide beam trawl. The lay-out of the top deck enables visual research of birds and aquatic mammals. Both ‘dry’ and ‘wet’ laboratories are provided on the main deck. The forecastle deck houses a survey room, containing the servers and most computers. When the net drum is dismantled, the aft deck offers room for additional containerized laboratories.

The Simon Stevin has accommodation for 10 crew and 10 scientists on extended missions. For day-trips the vessels can take up to 30 persons on board.

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