OSU Picked for $290 million Ocean Science Project

OSU research vesselOregon State University is busily finalizing the plans and design for a new ocean sciences facility, and for those who despise campus construction noise, the good news is this kind of building gets done in a shipyard. The 193-foot monohull of steel and aluminum, complete with a bulbous bow and internal U-tube antiroll tank, will be the first of a unique new class entering the fleet of aging regional research vessels.

Regional Class Research Vessels, or RCRVs, are needed to support a broad base of oceanographic research in coastal regions. These areas are increasingly sensitive to human alteration from water and air pollution, resource extraction, transportation, and recreational activities. If the final 2017 Federal Appropriations bill contains the funds, up to three RCRVs will be built. The first will have its home port at the OSU dock in Newport.

The project is part of the science and engineering enterprise supported by the US National Science Foundation (NSF). OSU was picked to receive $3 million to design and supervise the project, which could turn into a $290 million grant if approved.

Powered by integrated diesel-electric propulsion systems, the new RCRVs will be more fuel-efficient than existing vessels. Other design improvements include materials and mounting to make systems acoustically quiet, cutting-edge dynamic positioning, over-the-side instrument handling, and communication systems. The data presence capabilities of the RCRV will allow for real-time ship-to-shore streaming. The first RCRV is expected to be operational in mid-2021.

Professor Clare Reimers from the College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences shared that the project manager is former OSU Marine Superintendent and NOAA corps officer Demian Bailey. Professor David Sillars from the College of Engineering is another key member of the team, advising on project risk management, planning, and scheduling.

For more information, please visit: http://ceoas.oregonstate.edu/ships/rcrv/

By Matthew Hunt