The vessel named S.A. Agulhas II is a multipurpose vessel, and can operate as a supply, research and passenger vessel, as well as an icebreaker.
The flag-changing ceremony was witnessed by many, among which were the representatives from the client, the South African Government’s Department of Environmental Affairs, as well as the Embassy of South-Africa in Finland, The South African Maritime Authority, classification society Det Norske Veritas, STX Finland and the press.
Toivo Ilvonen, the Director of STX Rauma Shipyard, said:”We are proud to deliver this multipurpose vessel to the client. The project has offered valuable experience and expertise in the design and building of demanding polar research and supply vessels to the personnel of STX Rauma shipyard and all our partners involved in the project”.
The ice-strengthened vessel can accommodate a crew of 45 and about 100 passengers. It is approximately 134 metres long, capable of carrying out marine and geological sea floor research, and keeps continuous record of meteorological data for weather services.
Guido Perla & Associates (GPA) has announced that the keel laying recently took place at Marinette Marine Corporation (MMC) for the Alaska Region research vessel (ARRV) Sikuliaq, for which GPA provided design validation.
The Sikuliaq, a cold-climate, oceanographic research ship, will replace the 40-plus-year-old and now retired Alpha Helix. The Sikuliaq, owned by the National Science Foundation, with its initial science mission in 2014, is said to be one of the most advanced university research vessels, and will go into operation after delivery to the University of Alaska, Fairbanks (UAF). The vessel will be home ported in Seward, Alaska, at UAF’s Seward Marine Center. Length oa is 261.5ft, maximum beam 52.0ft and design waterline draught is 19.5ft. Displacement at the design waterline is 4,065 long tons. Sikuliaq is designed to reach 14 knots in calm waters.
The vessel was designed to leave the smallest environmental footprint possible, taking into consideration underwater radiated noise for marine mammals and fisheries. Up to 26 scientists and students, including those with disabilities, can be accommodated onboard. Operated by the UAF, and part of the US academic research fleet, the vessel has mild ice breaking capabilities for ice of up to 2.5ft thick. Thus, the vessel is capable of safely bringing scientists to the ice-choked waters of Alaska and the polar regions and of operating for longer periods of time than previously possible in the North Pacific Ocean, Gulf of Alaska, and the Bering, Chukchi, and Beaufort Seas.
Sikuliaq will be employed on research missions such as collecting sediment samples from the seafloor, hosting remotely operated vehicles, using a flexible suite of winches for handling of scientific equipment and conducting surveys throughout the water column and sea bottom with the use of extensive research instrumentation. It will be capable of transmitting real-time information ashore.
GPA says it was selected by MMC to assist with the design verification phase of the contract with UAF. GPA reviewed the design for compliance with the rules of ABS, USCG, SOLAS, stability requirements, the owner specifications, and various other criteria pertaining to good marine construction practices and shipyard building techniques. The final goal of the Design Verification was to turn over responsibility for the vessel design to MMC. Additionally, MMC had GPA develop several other functional design drawings for the shipyard, as well as detailed design for major foundations and key systems.
The Sikuliaq bears the class notations ABS XA1 Oceanographic Vessel, XAMS, XACCU, XDPS-1, unrestricted service.