OCTOBER 23, 2018 — The research vessel R/V Virginia, built by the Meridien Maritime Reparation shipyard in Matane, Quebec, for the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS)has successfully completed sea trials and transited to its home berth at Ampro Shipyard & Diesel in Weems, VA.
Purpose-built for VIMS, the Virginia will support ongoing fisheries projects such as multispecies fisheries research, and can be used for research in a wide variety of fields, including shark monitoring and offshore energy exploration.
JMS Naval Architects performed the concept through contract-level design and provided technical support during construction and sea trials.
Furuno supplied all of the navigational marine electronics the Virginia requires to carry out her mission. Installed by Vision Marine of Quebec, the Virginia’s helm includes multiple radars and fish finders, along with a host of vital communication equipment.
The Virginia’s impressive science capabilities will enhance the institute’s ability to perform general oceanographic research in the Chesapeake Bay and mid-Atlantic coastal waters.
Furuno’s FAR2127 IMO radar is at the forefront of the Virginia’s navigation package. The recent winner of the NMEA (National Marine Electronics Association) award for “Commercial Product of Excellence,” the 25 kW FAR2127 radar is able to detect surface objects at up to 96 nautical miles distance. Alongside the FAR2127 workhorse, the Virginia has also been outfitted with the DRS6AX X-Class radar. The X-Class series of Furuno radars afford the navigator improved short range detection and unprecedented target separation at close range – invaluable in identifying nearby, potentially hazardous targets.
The DRS6AX X-Class radar is controlled from the latest generation of Furuno NavNet multi-function displays, NavNet TZtouch2. Two TZTL12F 12″ displays and two TZTL15F 15″ displays are installed in an onboard network, sharing raster, vector and bathymetric chart plotting, radar, depth sounding and fish finding, as well as countless other capabilities.
The Virginia is outfitted with two distinct fish finders. A 1 kW, 50/200 kHz frequency fish finder is standard on all TZTL15F MFD’s, and the powerful (3 kW) DFF3 has also been installed, operating at 28 kHz. This configuration allows the DFF3 to see fish and bottom structure reliably at depths of well over 5,000 feet.
The Virginia has a length of 93 feet, beam of 28 feet, and can carry 8,700 gallons of fuel. She has room to berth up to 12 people, including a 3-5 member crew, for up to 10 days at sea. She has a range of up to 1,500 nautical miles, and a maximum sustained speed of 11 knots.
Main propulsion is provided by a pair of 660 BHP tier III Cummins QSK 19M engines coupled to a Finnoy 2G27-42FK two–in/one-out marine gear driving a Finnoy 5 blade, 1.95 meter diameter controllable pitch propeller, turning inside of a Rice thrust nozzle with triple Rice rudders for steering.
A truly purpose-built research vessel, the Virginia can accommodate a science payload of an astonishing 20 long tons (44,800 lb).
Ampro Shipyard features a 50-ton crane to facilitate loading and unloading of large equipment for use in the Virginia‘s 130 square foot wet lab and 270 square foot dry lab. These work spaces make the Virginia easily adaptable to evolving scientific research areas such as environmental impact studies, the servicing of ocean-observing systems, and offshore energy exploration and development surveys.
The shipyard is 43 miles north of the VIMS campus in Gloucester Point; about a one-hour drive.