Balenciaga builds a super silent research vessel

Written by Nick Blenkey
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Vessel has been designed by Skipsteknisk

A 61 meter ice class trawler being built as a research vessel by the Astilleros Balenciaga S.A. shipyard in Spain will have a complete MAN propulsion package.

The vessel is under construction for the Greenland Institute of Natural Resources. It has been designed by Norwegian designer Skipsteknisk and will be equipped with modern research and laboratory facilities, as well as accommodations for 32 people.

MAN Energy Solutions notes that a large number of fishing vessels featuring a Skipsteknisk design are currently under construction and 18 of them feature MAN propulsion packages.

The MAN propulsion package ordered for the research ship comprises:

  • 1 × MAN 8L27/38 Tier III with an MAN SCR (Selective Catalytic Reduction) system
  • 1 × five-bladed Alpha propeller
  • 1 × Alphatronic 3000 Remote Control system
  • 1 × MAN 12V175D auxiliary GenSet Tier III with an MAN SCR (Selective Catalytic Reduction) system
  • 1 × MAN D2862 auxilliary GenSet Tier III with an MAN SCR system
  • 1 × HyProp ECO system.

The propulsion package has been assembled with a special focus on minimizing noise. As a result, the research vessel will be driven by a diesel-mechanical set-up with the 27/38 acting as main propulsion and the MAN 175D and D2862 engines as auxiliary gensets. The 175D and D2862 will receive double-resilient mounting to comply with the vessel’s SILENT F notation. Similarly, the fully-integated MAN HyProp ECO frequency drive for DE operation system will control the rotation of the five-bladed Alpha propeller. Notably, both auxiliary engines are double-resilient seated.

HyProp ECO is a system solution that combines a diesel engine with a frequency-converter-driven shaft-alternator/motor and features multiple operational modes including diesel-electric propulsion for low-acoustic research activitites. The system combines the advantages of a bi-directional operating frequency converter for the shaft machine with a high-efficiency CP propeller plant. HyProp ECO is also open for shore connection and the integration of energy-storage devices/batteries.

Lex Nijsen, Head of Four-Stroke Marine Sales – MAN Energy Solutions, said: “This marks the first time that we have sold an MAN 175D unit to a research vessel, yet another market niche that it capably fills and testament to how versatile a performer this engine is. That it forms part of a complete propulsion package with our 27/38 engine and other MAN equipment is most welcome, and sits well with our intention to increasingly become a supplier of complete propulsion solutions.”


The DNV-GL’s SILENT class is the first set of rules for underwater noise emission from vessels to be published and provides owners of acoustically-sensitive vessels with concise, realistic criteria regarding underwater noise-emissions. It also gives environmentally-conscious owners an opportunity to demonstrate a low eco-footprint. Compliant ships are given the SILENT notation with an additional letter denoting a particular segment. In the case of the new research vessel, “F” is reserved for vessels engaged in fishing.


The newbuilding will replace the Institute’s former research vessel, Paamiut, which also had a complete MAN propulsion package, but the new vessel will be equipped to carry out many more types of surveillance and research. It will be capable of fishing by bottom-trawling (shrimps, halibut, cod) and pelagic trawling (mackerel, etc.). A drop keel and acoustic equipment will enable the Institute to carry out acoustic examinations of depth soundings and other, pelagic resources.

The vessel’s main purpose is to ensure the scientific basis for the sustainable exploitation of the living resources in offshore West and East Greenland. With the ship’s size and expanded capabilities, the Institute will also be able to search new, more-northerly, fishing grounds and alternative fish stocks.

MAN 12V175D auxiliary GenSet Tier III with an MAN SCR (Selective Catalytic Reduction) system
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