Yards, Suppliers Bring High-Tech To The Table
The primary mission for the SWATH vessel R/V Western Flyer is to be employed as a stable platform in Monterey Bay and the immediate offshore waters in the prevailing conditions of wind and sea native to these areas for the purpose of deploying, operating and recovering a tethered remotely operated submersible vehicle (ROV), untethered vehicles and/or conducting hydrocasts (CTD) to a depth of 11,000 ft. (3,500 m).
To complete its missions for owner Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, SWATH Ocean has incorporated the latest technology in design and outfitting.
The Western Flyer will be outfitted with a dynamic positioning and tracking system which will enable the vessel to maintain station within 150 ft. (46 m) or less in sea state 5, with a 25-knot wind and a two-knot current. This dual function will allow the vessel to follow a preset navigation track, as in transiting a grid, or to maintain position relative to the moving ROV within predetermined limits. This will be achieved by manual or automated control of the main propeller with individual rudder movement, bowthrusters, canards and stabilizers. As speed control in the zero- to three-knot range is critical to operation, stability is of the essence and the Western Flyer will reportedly perform quite well in rough waters. Vessel & Systems Design The Western Flyer's pontoons provide the major updrift for the vessel as well as provide space for the main engines, bowthrusters, canard and stabilizer equipment, fuel tanks and ballast tanks. The main propulsion consists oftwo Caterpillar3512,850- kW prime movers continuous duty generator sets driving two 1,250-hp main propulsion motors. The propulsion units were the determining factors in sizing the aft pontoons, and the pontoon shape selected allows for direct drive installation of the power train and for normal maintenance/repair access. The wetdeck's main function is to structurally connect the two hulls and provide support for main deck loads, while the main deck is dedicated to oceanographic activities. The cen-terpiece of the main deck is the moon pool area, which is recessed two ft. below the main deck.
Located starboard in the center area is a Hiab 290 crane opposite from the Tether Management System (TMS); located adjacent to the moon pool area are the ROV control room and the scientific labs. A Hiab 290 crane is also located on the port side to support scientific or shipboard activities.