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12 January 2017

Virginia Institute of Marine Science of Gloucester Point, VA ( awarded a contract to Meridien Maritime Reparation of Matane, Quebec ( to construct a 93-foot research vessel. JMS Naval Architects of Mystic, CT ( designed the research vessel to replace VIMS’s current vessel, the R/V Bay Eagle.

The primary mission of the Institute’s fleet is to provide inshore and offshore work platforms for the support of fisheries related oceanographic research projects. The new vessel will be capable of conducting fisheries assessments of greater capacity, in deeper waters and with a larger science complement than the Bay Eagle. In addition, the new vessel will greatly expand VIMS’s capability to perform general oceanographic research in the Chesapeake Bay and the mid-Atlantic near coastal waters. The state-of-the-art research vessel offers enormous capability in a small package that is also economic to build and operate.

JMS designed the vessel to operate as an uninspected research vessel with an ABS Loadline. The design offers flexibility in science outfitting allowing for high utilization and affordable operating day rates. The vessel is easily adaptable to evolving scientific research areas such as offshore oil & gas exploration surveys, wind energy development surveys, environmental impact studies, and the servicing of ocean observing systems.


Main propulsion is provided by a pair of 660 BHP tier III diesel engines coupled to a two–in/one-out marine gear driving a controllable pitch propeller shrouded within a nozzle. This unique arrangement will provide the capability to operate the vessel efficiently on a single propulsion engine when on station or during slow speed transits. This will reduce overall engine hours and thus reduce the cost of operation and improve fuel efficiency, minimizing its environmental footprint. The gearbox also powers a very robust hydraulic system required to support the suite of deep water trawl winches and load handling equipment. The electrical system is comprised of a pair of 99 ekW generators which provide redundant capability or can be run in parallel during peak power demands. LED lighting will reduce both power consumption and heat emitted into the accommodation spaces.

A high performance rudder package and 250 HP omnidirectional flush mounted grid bow thruster provide excellent maneuverability. The vessel’s capabilities are further enhanced by a state-of-the-art dynamic positioning system for station keeping.

Oceanographic outfitting includes very large Wet and Dry Labs which have been designed for maximum flexibility to accommodate the many types of science that the vessel is expected to conduct. The 1,000 square foot main working deck allows for a 20 long ton science payload and provides a significant working platform for conducting fishing operations, over-the-side sampling and coring activities. There is also ample room and services to install a 20 foot science van for specialized science missions. The new research vessel will take advantage of the latest technology through an extensive array of acoustic instrumentation for the gathering and processing of data in support of fisheries research, oceanography and geophysical sciences.

The aft deck is fitted with a stern A-Frame with an 8,000 lb safe working load for over the stern lifting operations and a side mounted J-Frame with an 4,000 lb safe working load for conducting CTD operations. The principal fishing arrangement consists of a pair of trawl net reels and a pair of trawl winches with 4,000 lb linear pull with 355 fathoms of 3/8” wire to support small mesh (200 mm net) bottom trawl surveys inshore and nearshore waters. An electric CTD (Conductivity, Temperature, and Depth) winch with 2,000 m of 0.322” wire will also be fitted for operation from the side mounted J-Frame. There is also a knuckle boom deck crane with a 2,240 lbs capacity at a 33 foot reach to support load handling operations.


About JMS Naval Architects:

JMS Naval Architects is a specialty maritime engineering firm providing naval architecture, marine engineering, marine surveying, and marine casualty response services to assist ship owners in the management of their fleets. With a unique combination of high-end analytical engineering expertise and practical deck plate experience, JMS delivers innovative and cost-effective solutions to complex problems.

The new VIMS research vessel is the latest design from JMS’ Coastal Class Fisheries/Research Vessel Series. This concept-model provides a multi-purpose, efficient, and cost-effective platform from which scientists and educators can study coastal oceanic phenomena and explore physical, chemical, biological, and geological processes.

 JMS recently completed the design and construction oversight, sea trials, testing and commissioning of the 78-foot fisheries research and assessment vessel ARCTICUS for the Department of the Interior USGS Great Lakes Science Center. ARCTICUS was recently recognized as one of the “10 Significant Ships of 2015” by Workboat Magazine.

JMS has extensive experience specifically related to research vessel design and operation. JMS has provided engineering support for weight handling system design, mission mobilization, repowering, and systems integration to a variety of research vessels. Clients include NOAA, National Science Foundation, Office of Naval Research, U.S. Coast Guard, the Department of Interior, Environmental Protection Agency, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Virginia Institute of Marine Science, University of São Paulo, and other renowned oceanographic institutions around the United States and the world. In addition to providing naval architecture and marine engineering services, JMS conducts inspections and condition assessments for research vessel fleet maintenance or long term fleet renewal planning. JMS naval architects understand the importance of defining the science mission requirements of a research vessel and balancing them with its operational, regulatory, and budget constraints.

For more information:

Rick Fernandes, Vice President

860.536.0009 Ext 2


About the Virginia Institute of Marine Science:

The Virginia Institute of Marine Science, part of the College of William & Mary, has a three-part mission to conduct interdisciplinary research in coastal ocean and estuarine science, educate students and citizens, and provide advisory service to policy makers, industry, and the public. VIMS provides these services to Virginia, the nation, and the world.

For more information:

David Malmquist



About Meridien Maritime Reparation:

Meridian Maritime, located in Matane, Quebec, specializes in the design, fabrication, repair, and inspection of products and equipment specific to maritime and industrial areas. Since its inception, Meridien has distinguished itself in shipbuilding. From the scientific vessel to the fishing or working vessel specialized in your field, Meridien has the solution you need for your shipbuilding projects. Meridien also offers its customers design and design services for the manufacture of bridge equipment, winches and other specific equipment for different types of vessels and particularly for fishing vessels.

For more information:

Simon Girouard, Director of Operations