New Wave Media

June 8, 2022

Glosten Tapped toDesign new Research Vessel for KAUST

Image Courtesy of Glosten

Image Courtesy of Glosten

King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) selected Glosten to design a new ship with advanced capabilities for Red Sea research.

The new oceanographic research vessel (RV) will replace the existing RV Thuwal, designed to bring advanced research capabilities for work in both shallow reef and deepwater environments with a reconfigurable deck for multipurpose jobs and equipment and weather hardy traits for managing the unique conditions of the Red Sea.

The existing ship for KAUST is nearly 22-years-old, originally designed as a fishing vessel for navigating the coastal waters of Australia. This ship has served KAUST scientists for as many as 220 days at sea per year since 2013. 

However, the retrofitted 34.7-meter long Thuwal is limited in the tasks and sea conditions it can manage, and as KAUST expands its research ambitions for studying the Red Sea, a robust vessel with optimal functionality is required.

The Glosten-designed ship will offer custom designed features to meet a broad range of oceanographic missions, including seawater, sediment, and biological sampling to the full depth of the Red Sea, approximately 3000 meters.

At 50 meters long, the vessel will be significantly larger and offer a greater range of operational capabilities. The deck will be designed to deploy heavy equipment and sophisticated instrumentation for multiple disciplines, including geoscience, bioscience, marine science, and oceanographic research interests. The RV will be equipped with an advanced positioning system to enable deployment of long-duration remote and autonomous vehicles as well as geoscience sampling systems.

The ship will be the only advanced marine vessel of its kind that is uniquely built for and dedicated to conducting research in the Red Sea. “KAUST is a major hub for marine research in the Red Sea, and we are expanding our activities to better integrate with the Kingdom’s growing interests. Our investment in a world-class research vessel underscores a commitment to fully support our partners here in Saudi Arabia and around the world, and give KAUST faculty, researchers, and students unrivaled infrastructure to pursue their exciting research plans,” said KAUST Vice President for Research and Distinguished Professor Dr. Donal Bradley.

Glosten has provided design and engineering support to the oceanographic research community for more than 60 years, and it will provide the design, shipyard tendering support, and construction oversight through delivery to KAUST, with the project slated to complete in 2026.

The February 2022 eMag edition of Marine Technology Reporter looks inside the world of oceanography.
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