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March 15, 2023

AAM Delivers Survey Vessel for NV5-Geodynamics

(Photo: All American Marine)

(Photo: All American Marine)

Bellingham, Wash. shipbuilder All American Marine (AAM) announced it has delivered a new research and hydrographic survey vessel for NV5-Geodynamics. The vessel was sea-trialed on Bellingham Bay, prior to shipping via cargo ship to its homeport of Beaufort, N.C.

Built to service the growing offshore wind market as well as accomplish many other scientific survey missions, Shackleford is a 73- by 26.7-foot semi-displacement aluminum catamaran developed by Nic de Waal of Teknicraft Design in Auckland, New Zealand. The newbuild leverages fundamental design elements of the Duke University Marine Lab’s Shearwater and Blue Tide Puerto Rico’s Blue Manta, both built by All American Marine and proven successful in near-coastal research environments.

Named after Shackleford Banks, the southernmost barrier island in the Cape Lookout National Seashore chain and a nod to the region’s rich maritime history, the Shackleford was constructed to USCG Subchapter T standards. The vessel will serve an integral role in NV5-Geodynamics’ mission of providing turnkey / “single pass” offshore surveys and has been specifically customized to serve the burgeoning offshore wind sector on the U.S. Eastern Seaboard. 

The speed and unique stability of this twin-engine hull design is fundamental for Geodynamics’ continuing expansion of their specialized nearshore / mid-shelf hydrographic and geophysical survey operations, the builder said. To reduce survey mobilization costs, the Shackleford is outfitted with fully dedicated and redundant survey systems, including the Kongsberg EM 2040 MKII Multibeam Echosounder that is deployed through the vessel’s moonpool via retractable strut. Dimensional Control (DimCon) surveys utilizing applied metrology techniques orient the Shackleford’s primary IMU / multibeam reference systems, and a network of discrete benchmarks set within the vessel’s reference frame allowing accurate and repeatable lever arm calculations to all survey sensors. Coordinate Uncertainty Analysis of the final DimCon survey establishes an overall RMS of 0.0001 meters between all established points within the network.

“To achieve the highest level of data accuracy day in and day out, our model over the last two decades is simple: we consider the boat as a precision survey instrument, purpose built for the specific survey environment and then wrapped around the ideal sensors for a specific set of missions,” stated Chris Freeman, Sr. Vice President, Geodynamics. “This holistic approach to our vessel builds has proven successful time and again but requires a builder open to an uncompromised data-centric build. We chose All American Marine based on their experience and skillset in building such highly customized research vessels, vessels that are in service throughout North America. This new best-in-class vessel will provide an unmatched platform for our continued focus performing to the most stringent offshore survey specifications in the world, whether that is for nautical charting or for subsea exploration to support offshore wind development.”

The Shackleford integrates the signature Teknicraft Design symmetrical and asymmetrical combined hull shape, bow wave piercer, and a patented hydrofoil-assisted hull design. The hull and hull components are designed to break up wave action and ensure reduced drag while enhancing passenger comfort. According to AAM, the design is proven to have both low-wake wash energy and increased fuel economy. This advanced hull shape was custom designed using digital modeling and Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) analysis testing. The vessel’s design offers all passengers and crew a smooth ride and comfort, as the hull provides a cushioned effect when encountering waves. For the operator, the most valuable feature of these vessels is the excellent fuel economy, which consumes approximately the same gallons per nautical mile throughout the cruising speed of 18-24 knots. With a large fuel capacity of 1,500 gallons, this fuel-efficient design is licensed for up to 16-day passengers and has live-aboard accommodations of up to 10 passengers. The propulsion package includes 2x fixed pitch propellers, powered by twin EPA Tier 3 diesel engines, rated at 803 bhp at 2,100 RPM driving ZF 665V remote mounted gearboxes.

On board the vessel, passengers and crew have comfortable quarters, large state-of-the-art lab spaces, and a full range of hydrographic and marine geophysical instrumentation with which to conduct a variety of survey missions, AAM said.

Ron Wille, All American Marine President & COO, said, “All American Marine remains committed to being on the leading edge of manufacturing techniques and an innovator in merging the latest technology into a functional and proven vessel. We are delighted to be delivering this vessel on time and on budget, as part of Geodynamics’ growing fleet. This vessel will enable Geodynamics to take their business to the next level, provide unmatched services and expand their scientific activities on the east coast significantly. The vessel will also help advance the rapidly growing windfarm industry on the East Coast and beyond.”

The February 2024 edition of Marine Technology Reporter is focused on Oceanographic topics and technologies.
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