Representatives from Oregon State, the National Science Foundation (NSF) and Gulf Island Shipyards LLC have attended the keel-laying of the first in a series of new research vessels at the shipyard in Houma, Louisiana.
The 60.7m-long vessel, to be called Taani, is the first of up to three Regional Class Research Vessels funded by the NSF and is due for delivery to Oregon State in 2021. It will become fully operational after one further year of outfitting and testing.
The NSF has now contracted with Oregon State University (OSU) to build a second similar vessel, to be operated by a consortium led by the University of Rhode Island. Grants of USD 121.88 million for the first vessel and a further USD 88 million for the second ship have been provided so far by the NSF. Eventually, a third vessel may also be ordered.
The Taani will have accommodation for up to 16 scientists and 13 crew members and will have an endurance of 21 days at sea. It will have a range of more than 5,000 nautical miles, a cruising speed of 11.5 knots and a maximum speed of 13 knots.
The research vessels will be equipped to carry out detailed mapping of the seabed to reveal geological features important to processes such as subduction zone earthquakes that could trigger tsunamis.
Terence Quinn, director of the NSF’s Division of Ocean Sciences, said: “NSR is proud that the research vessel Taani will be the flagship for a new class of research vessels, and eagerly anticipates decades of productive oceanography from Taani to support the nation’s science, engineering and education needs.”