Damen Shipyards has delivered a silent research vessel called the Simon Stevin to Belgian government-owned fleet operator DAB Vloot.
Damen Shipyards Gorinchem and VLIZ, the Flemish Institute for the Sea, jointly developed the research vessel.
The hull and hot works of the vessel were built at Damen Shipyards Galati in Romania, while outfitting was carried out by Maaskant Shipyards Stellendam in the Netherlands.
The research vessel will be used for scientific research on climate change, sustainable fishing, energy production at sea and for educational purposes.
The Simon Stevin was built to help in Flemish multidisciplinary research programmes that are undertaken by VLIZ, Belgian universities and other scientific institutions.
The vessel complies with strict requirements concerning footprint and fishing gear, while the design and layout has been optimised to generate very low underwater noise in ‘silent mode’.
The silent mode fulfils the International Council for Exploration of the Seas (ICES) Standard 209, a standard that limits underwater radiated noise.
The research ship is claimed to be the smallest vessel in the world that meets all these environmental requirements.
The vessel’s basic characteristics are a tiltable A-frame on the aft deck, a number of winches for hydrographical survey work, soil sampling and fishing, two laboratories, a 200 kW bow thruster, a dynamic positioning (DP) system, and a free deck space of 45m² that provides space for two containers.
A blister has been installed beneath the vessel containing a multi-beam echo sounder and other equipment for 3D-imaging of the sea bed.
The vessel is also equipped with a set of purpose-built fishing winches below deck, which enable the ship to apply several fishing methods.
For pelagic fishing, a Maaskant low-noise and dismountable electrical net drum have been designed and equipped for the 8-metre wide beam trawler.
Maaskant Stellendam designed and built the two fishing winches, the net drum and the double anchor mooring.
The vessel will be capable of accommodating ten crew and ten scientists when going on multi-day missions.
It is propelled by two 520 kW electric motors, which are mounted to reduce subsea noise levels. Three generator sets provide the electricity for the propulsion system, the winches and other electrical equipment.
The 36m-long and 9m-wide vessel has a maximum speed of 12 knots and can operate in silent mode sailing up to 9.5 knots.
Image: The Simon Stevin will be used for scientific research on climate change, sustainable fishing, energy production at sea and for educational purposes by DAB Vloot. Photo: Damen