'Silent Mode' Research Ship Delivered

The Dutch company Damen Shipyards Group announced it has delivered the Simon Stevin to its Belgian client DAB Vloot, the Flemish governmental fleet operator. Its design minimizes underwater noise from the ship’s operation.

The Simon Stevin, a small research ship that complies with the ICES (International Council for Exploration of the Seas) Standard 209, has been delivered to DAB Vloot, the Flemish governmental fleet operator, Damen Shipyards Group announced Aug. 29. The ship will be used in the North Sea for scientific research on climate change, sustainable fishing, energy production at sea, and for educational purposes. It can sail at up to 9.5 knots in "silent mode" to meet the standard, which limits underwater radiated noise.

The Simon Stevin is the smallest vessel in the world that complies with it, according to the Dutch shipbuilder's news release.

The ship's propulsion comes from two 520 kW electric motors that are flexibly mounted to reduce subsea noise levels. Three generator sets supply the electricity for the propulsion system, the winches, and other electrical equipment. Its maximum speed is 12 knots, and it can accommodate as many as 10 crew members and 10 scientists on multi-day missions.

The company's announcement said the ship was jointly designed by Damen Shipyards Gorinchem and VLIZ, the Flemish Institute for the Sea. Damen said its three shipyards and the client "have done their utmost to deliver a relatively small hydrographical research vessel (36 x 9 m) which is nevertheless abundantly equipped with research, analysis and fishing equipment. According to VLIZ, the [Simon Stevin] is both its first newbuild Research Vessel and a real showpiece."

The thrust of the ICES standard is that research vessels surveying fish stocks should not disturb the natural distribution of target fish at any operational speed. ICES Cooperative Research Report No. 209 contains practical recommendations for limiting underwater radiated noise to help those drawing up specifications for new vessels.

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