AAM delivers Hawaii research catamaran

Written by Nick Blenkey
Research catamaran Imua

Research catamaran Imua features a semi-displacement aluminum catamaran hull developed by Nic de Waal of Teknicraft Design. [Photo: AAM]

Bellingham, Wash., based All American Marine (AAM) has recently delivered an innovative research catamaran vessel to the University of Hawaii at Mānoa and the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology (HIMB). Called Imua, the 68.5x 25 foot vessel features a semi-displacement aluminum catamaran hull developed by Nic de Waal of Teknicraft Design in Auckland, New Zealand.

The vessel incorporates fundamental, and proven, design elements of two previous All American Marine deliveries, the Duke University Marine Lab’s R/V Shearwater and Blue Tide Puerto Rico’s R/V Blue Manta.

Constructed to U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) standards, it will operate as a multipurpose research vessel in Hawaiian waters and offshore on ocean routes.

The research catamaran’s design offers all passengers and crew a smooth ride and comfort, as the hull provides a cushioned effect when encountering waves. For the operator, a valuable feature of this vessel is the excellent fuel economy, while also maintaining an estimated fully laden cruise speed of 22-24 knots and with a fuel-efficient minimum survey speed of 3 knots. With a large fuel capacity of 1,800 gallons, this design will support a science team of 8 on offshore multiday missions and 22 students/crew on shorter day excursions.

The propulsion package includes twin fixed pitch propellers, powered by twin Scania DI16, 082M, Tier 3 engines, rated at 800 mhp @ 2,100 RPM.

The speed and fuel-efficiency of this vessel will be fundamental to meeting the University of Hawaii’s research goals and allow it to access and study marine environments in the Hawaiian Islands.

“From the beginning, we had productive discussions with All American Marine. This allowed them to understand exactly what we wanted from this vessel. I’m very impressed at her speed and handling, even with all our scientific payload on board,” said University of Hawaii researcher Carl Meyer, Ph.D. “Our opportunities to conduct research in certain oceanic areas around Hawaii are contingent on fairly good sea conditions. The ability to get to these remote places quickly with Imua means considerably more opportunities to leverage weather using this vessel compared to a traditional, rather slow research platform”

The new research vessel integrates the signature Teknicraft Design symmetrical and asymmetrical combined hull shape, bow wave piercer, and a patented hydrofoil-assisted hull design. The hull and hull components are designed to break up wave action and ensure reduced drag while enhancing passenger comfort. Teknicraft’s innovative dynamic hydrofoil-assisted hull design is proven to have industry leading low-wake wash energy and fuel economy. The main foil action reduces the power needed to maintain service speed; as a result, fuel consumption and running costs are reduced significantly, while also further enhancing the softness of the ride, especially in choppy seas.

Teknicraft’s unique hydrofoil system consists of the main foil spanning the tunnel at the keel. The Imua also includes transom-mounted Humphree interceptors. The lift produced by the hydrofoil reduces the hull resistance while increasing speed and load-bearing capability. The interceptors offer additional trim control.

This advanced hull shape was custom designed using digital modeling and Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) analysis testing.

Onboard the vessel, scientists and crew have comfortable live-aboard quarters, large state-of-the-art wet and dry lab spaces, as well as a range of the latest oceanographic equipment in which to conduct a variety of missions. The vessel was custom designed to support a diverse portfolio of science and outreach missions including advanced studies on marine megafauna, pelagic and coastal ecosystem research, oceanographic surveys, and K–12 learning experiences.

“All American Marine remains committed to being on the leading edge of manufacturing techniques and an innovator in merging the latest technology into a functional and proven vessel,” said All American Marine president & COO Ron Wille. “We are thrilled to have built this multi-mission research vessel and put it into action. It paves the way for a new era of ocean conservation and research capabilities.”

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