The technology group Wärtsilä has been contracted to provide the main engines, retractable thrusters and exhaust cleaning equipment for two new research vessels being built for the China Ocean Mineral Resources R&D Association (COMRA).
COMRA is an institution dedicated to the research and development of international seabed resources and environment, overseen by the Chinese government’s State Oceanic Administration. The ships are being built at the CSSC Huangpu Wenchong Shipbuilding and Wuchang Shipbuilding Industry Group yards. The orders were booked in April 2017.
Each vessel will be powered by two 4-cylinder Wärtsilä 20 engines and two Wärtsilä 26 engines, one with a 9-cylinder and one with an 8-cylinder configuration. They will also be fitted with Wärtsilä retractable thrusters. The engine exhaust will be cleaned with a Wärtsilä NOx Reducer (NOR) to comply with the International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO) Tier III regulations relating to emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx), and to be Engine International Air Pollution Prevention (EIAPP) certified. The engines will also be mounted in such a way that noise and vibration are minimised, thus providing an undisturbed working environment to ensure the accuracy of the data collected during survey activities, and to ensure the comfort of the research personnel. The vessels will be the first Chinese research vessels to operate NOR systems.
The Wärtsilä retractable thrusters provide the vessels with efficient manoeuvring and station keeping capabilities. They feature a compact integrated design with all auxiliary systems pre-mounted on the unit, thus minimising the space needed. The thrusters have respectively 850kW and 1000 kW power output. Wärtsilä’s experience in mitigating the effect of noise and vibration on research vessels, together with the short lead time, were important considerations in fulfilling the project requirements.
“Wärtsilä has been able to meet the customer’s strict requirements concerning vibration and noise from the engines, as well as the need for a compact design. Furthermore, our proven NOR system ensures Tier III compliance. We have a strong track record in providing reliable and efficient integrated solutions for research vessels, and all these factors were relevant to the award of this contract,” says Peter Hansten, Area Sales Director, Marine Solutions, Wärtsilä Corporation.
When delivered, one of the vessels, 98 metre long “Da Yang 2 Hao”, will be used for scientific surveying, including deep sea extreme environment detection. The other vessel will be a 90 metre long manned submersible support mother ship. They are both scheduled for delivery in March 2019 and the Wärtsilä equipment will be delivered at the end of 2017.
Wärtsilä has thus far provided solutions for nine newbuild Chinese research vessels, making it the leading supplier in this sector.