Research Vessel Delivered to Orca Maritime
Washington-based boat builder Armstrong Marine said it has delivered a new 42’ x 16’ catamaran research vessel, Benthic Cat, to Orca Maritime, Inc. following launch and sea trials in Port Angeles Harbor. The vessel will enter service immediately, beginning with a week-long operation around San Clemente Island.
The second IPS-drive catamaran delivered by Armstrong, the 4216-CTC model was selected by Orca Maritime after the builder delivered the same design to UC San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography (R/V Bob and Betty Beyster) in 2019.
Orca Maritime will utilize the workboat in support of Department of Defense initiatives, environmental agencies, energy sectors, and commercial enterprise. Vessel operations will include the launch and recovery of autonomous underwater vehicles (AUV), underwater gliders, surface and underwater sensors, remotely operated vehicles (ROV), and unmanned surface vehicles (USV). Benthic Cat will also support surface-supplied/SCUBA diving operations and provide onboard data processing.
The catamaran features a full-width cabin with fly bridge, large aft working deck, hydraulic A-frame (5,000 lb. SWL), Northern Lights 9kw diesel generator, and Garmin/NMEA electronics package. The vessel is well equipped for multi-day operations along the Southern California coast with two interior work stations, a 4-person sleeping cuddy, head with shower, refrigerator/freezer, and 600-gallon fuel capacity.
Benthic Cat is powered by twin Volvo Penta D11 510hp inboards paired with Volvo IPS 650 propulsors and Volvo electric steering. Builder sea trials indicated 32mph cruise and 37mph top speeds. The dynamic positioning system integrates GPS navigation data with propulsion controls to automatically maintain heading and position. Joystick controls at the aft docking station and flybridge station ease handling.
Deck equipment includes the A-frame with Pullmaster PL5 hydraulic winch, a Morgan Marine 200.3 crane, Kinematics hydraulic anchor winch and 5” aft deck horizontal capstan, and 28 tie-down points for securing equipment. Rigid LED flood lights illuminate the aft deck.
Inside, three Bentley’s Patriot seats accommodate captain and crew. Benches with a flip down tabletop provide additional seating and storage. Two Red Dot hydronic heaters and two Dometic AC units keep the cabin comfortable for year-round operations.
Kurt Nelson of Orca Maritime reflected on the project, “R/V Benthic Cat has exceeded all our expectations for speed, fuel economy, range, and maneuverability. She fills the near shore multi-mission role perfectly.”