By Mark Edward Nero
On May 2, Oregon State University issued a request for information to shipyards that may be interested in the construction of a new regional class research vessel to replenish the United States academic fleet.
The design phase was recently completed by The Glosten Associates, a Seattle-based naval architecture firm, and the RFI is a chance to generate market interest and to get feedback from industry on the design and other project documents.
Oregon State said it plans to issue a request for proposals (RFP) in two phases beginning this summer – a technical phase to establish a competitive pool of qualified shipyards and a cost phase to elicit vessel cost proposals.
“The request for information issued on May 2 is a chance for us to make final tweaks in the preliminary design and to open up a dialogue with industry about the project,” said Demian Bailey, Oregon State University’s former marine superintendent and a co-leader on the project. “Once we issue the RFP this summer, it will become more difficult to alter the design or other project documents.”
Oregon State was selected in January 2013 by the National Science Foundation as the lead institution to finalize the design and coordinate the construction of the vessel – and possibly up to two more.
Among the design features:
• A design of 193 feet, with a range of 7,064 nautical miles.
• A cruising speed of 11 knots, with a maximum speed of 13 knots.
• Sixteen berths designed for scientists, and 13 for crewmembers.
• The ability to stay out at sea for 21 days before coming back to port.
Oregon State said it expects to select a shipyard in early 2017 and that the National Science Foundation would assume ownership of the vessel. However, Oregon State would operate the first vessel built and conduct science missions primarily in the eastern North Pacific Ocean basin.
The first ship would likely be delivered in 2020, according to the university.
More information about the project, including renderings, is available at: http://ceoas.oregonstate.edu/ships/rcrv/.