Metal Shark delivers custom tender for Ocean Xplorer

Written by Nick Blenkey
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Multi-mission tender vessel’s highly optimized design incorporates numerous specialized features. [Photo: Andy Mann]

Jeanerette, La., headquartered shipbuilder Metal Shark has delivered a new research tender to New York-based nonprofit ocean exploration initiative and media organization OceanX.

The custom 38-foot Defiant-class welded aluminum monohull pilothouse vessel will be carried aboard the recently-launched one-of-a-kind scientific research, media production, and exploration vessel, the R/V OceanXplorer (see earlier story).

OceanX’s new research vessel, OceanXplorer, in the fjords of Norway. [Credit: Taj Howe]

Designed and built to be the most advanced combined marine research and media vessel in existence, OceanXplorer is both a floating, integrated marine research platform and a Hollywood-caliber media production studio.

Members of Metal Shark’s in-house engineering team worked in close collaboration with the client’s team to accommodate an ambitious set of mission requirements for the multi-mission tender vessel. This effort resulted in a highly optimized vessel design incorporating numerous specialized features.

The tender’s customized aft deck features a removable aft hydraulic A-frame for lifting, removable dive benches and an awning for crew protection, dual flip-up convertible bench seats, an aft helm station for maneuvering the vessel in close quarters, and a removable filming tower.

A dive refill station with two 50-liter cylinders was added below deck, along with crew accommodations including a climate-controlled cabin with air conditioning and heat, head with fresh water shower and tankless water heater, water maker filtration system, and a custom berth with IT rack beneath.

Powered by twin Cummins QSB 6.7 550 HP diesel inboards mated to Hamilton HJ 292 water jets with Blue Arrow controls, the 38 Defiant demonstrates pinpoint maneuverability at all speeds, while the JETanchor system assists with station-keeping and also offers a “virtual anchor” mode. The choice of diesel power allows the tender to refuel off the mothership safely while eliminating the hazards of storing and transferring the gasoline typically required for outboards.

A SeaKeeper stabilization system was added to reduce vessel pitch and roll. Single-point and four-point lift options facilitate vessel launch and retrieval from aboard the mothership, eliminating straps and spreader bars while improving safety for the crew. A removable bow push knee adds an extra element of utility while allowing for safe boarding from the bow.

“Producing this custom boat for OceanX provided us with an ideal opportunity to showcase one of Metal Shark’s core competencies, which is adapting a proven platform through engineering to meet a demanding set of mission requirements,” said Metal Shark CEO Chris Allard. “It was an honor to be selected for this program and we are excited to see this new Metal Shark put to work.”

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