Wärtsilä, the marine industry's leading ship power system integrator and solution provider, has signed a contract to design and supervise the construction of a modern oceanographic research vessel for the marine wing of the Geological Survey of India (GSI). The order was received in October.
In addition to design and supervising the construction process, Wärtsilä will be involved in selecting the onboard scientific instruments, and in arranging training for GSI scientists to ensure that the vessel's capabilities are fully utilized. Wärtsilä know-how and the company's global presence guarantee that the new vessel's scientific team will have the best possible support.
"The new vessel is the third of its kind that Wärtsilä is designing for India," says Mr Arne Stenersen, Managing Director, Wärtsilä Ship Design in Norway. "The first one, Sagar Nidhi, is already in service and being operated by the National Institute of Ocean Technology. She is expected to support research work in the Indian Ocean and the Antarctic. Sindhu Sadhana, the second vessel, is under construction."
Science involves different needs
Wärtsilä has 120 days to create a totally new design. "Our designers will take full account of the scientists' needs," says Mr Egil Sandvik, Sales Manager, Wärtsilä Ship Design. "Good facilities for handling equipment, laboratories and workshops, ample space for living quarters and meetings, the correct positioning of transducers and last but not least, good levels of comfort."
A high-speed LAN and internet connections will link the vessel's control rooms, laboratories and accommodation to the outside world. The vessel designers have to reproduce the working conditions enjoyed by scientists ashore. "Wärtsilä has a good understanding of this, as inputs to the design process will be coming from people who have sailed as scientists on research vessels for many years," says Sandvik.
A completely new approach
A new set of rules apply to the design of this research vessel. The focus is on how the scientific tools perform and on the vessel's ability to adapt to what she will be expected to explore in the future.
"It's an interesting design challenge," says Sandvik. "She has to be capable of carrying out complicated operations such as handling ROVs (Remotely Operated Vehicles), supporting manned underwater submersibles and controlling autonomous drills that can drill up to 150 metres below the seabed at depths of a thousand metres - not to mention the collection of seismic data and simple operations such as water and soil sampling. The demands and requirements associated with future tasks always have to be kept in mind."
The new vessel will have accommodation for 69 people. With an overall length of 95 metres, breadth of 19 metres, maximum draught of 6 metres and speed of 14 knots, it will have an endurance of 45 days. Completion of the project is scheduled for the first quarter of 2012.
India's economic progress depends on new resources
Established in 1851, GSI is India's second-oldest survey company. Right from the beginning, it has been probing new territory, including regional-level exploration for mineral resources, inputs for engineering projects, and geotechnical, geo-environment, seismotectonics, natural hazards and glaciology investigations.
An ocean-going research vessel and two GSI coastal vessels have been carrying out seabed surveys within the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), India's territorial waters and in international waters. GSI's mandate is to quantify the country's existing resources and identify new ones.