NIOZ has ordered a new research vessel to replace the outdated Wadden Sea research and support vessel RV Stern. Next Generation Shipyards in Lauwersoog has won the tender to build the RV Adriaen Coenen. The ship is to join the Dutch national research fleet in the spring of 2022.

RV Adriaen Coenen is the second new ship ordered by the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ) in a short amount of time. At the end of January, it was announced that the larger Wadden and delta ship RV Navicula would be replaced by the new RV Wim Wolff.

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In total, the national research fleet consists of three ships and is managed by National Marine Facilities (NMF) at NIOZ. The construction of the oceangoing vessel RV Anna Weber-van Bosse, the intended replacement for the flagship RV Pelagia, is currently under preparation.

Long wishlist

RV Adriaen Coenen will be a smart, functional, distinctive and sustainable ship. The ship was designed on the basis of a long wish list of all conceivable Dutch stakeholders, not only from within the already known academic community, but also from universities of applied sciences (hbo) and applied research organisations (TO2), as well as NGOs.

In addition to the NWO and NIOZ ambition for sustainability and green technology, the final ship will be a compromise between dimensions and draught to maximise the operational portfolio in tidal areas and shallow waters.

‘The ship differs from the larger research vessels in that it is equipped for for example day trips for the fast and flexible collection of research samples. These can then be further processed at the nearby institute’s facilities,’ explains Henk van der Veer. As former head of the Department of Coastal Systems at NIOZ, he was closely involved in the design process.

Operational and technical specifications

RV Adriaen Coenen is equipped with facilities for twelve scientists, assistants, students and other passengers, and two crew members. With a maximum draft of one metre, the vessel can cross watersheds in the Wadden Sea at high tide and ground during low tide. The new vessel will tow or push small objects such as the “Wadtower” (a mobile bird observation platform).

For research activities, the vessel will be equipped with hoisting equipment, a spacious working deck – with room for two rubber dinghies or a 10ft container, arrangements for deployment of ADCP and multi-beam equipment, wet and dry laboratories, ICT infrastructure and communication equipment.

Water jets, HVO and batteries

Alex Cofino, project manager of the fleet replacement and head of the NMF department, adds: ‘RV Adriaen Coenen will be built using cutting edge green technology, innovative design and smart construction methods.’ The hull was modelled by means of CFD (computational fluid dynamics) simulations and optimised to the best possible hydrodynamic properties. Water jets are used for propulsion, so the ship can easily operate in shallow water and can dry-out.

CFD model hull optimisation (by Marimecs).

A diesel substitute, HVO (hydro-treated vegetable oil), will be used as an energy source. This ensures a significant reduction in emissions, such as ninety per cent less CO2. In combination with particulate filters and a catalytic converter on the exhausts, this is at least equivalent to the emission reduction achieved with methanol, for example.

Furthermore, all installations are designed to minimise energy consumption and, by that means, to reduce waste. For example, the cooling water systems will be equipped with a heat recovery system. The LED lighting will work with motion sensors and solar panels. The ship will make use of batteries when it is dried-out and it will have a plug-in facility for stays in ports. In addition, maximum (thermal) insulation will be applied.

The new ship is named after “citizen scientist” Adriaen Coenen (1514 – 1587), who was a fishmonger from Scheveningen and an amateur ichthyologist because of his interest in everything that lived in the sea.

Picture (top) by C-Job Naval Architects.