Fisheries Research Vessel Sets New Standards

'Alba Na' Mara' is comprehensively equipped to carry out a variety of roles for Fisheries Research Services. Photo: Bodie's of Banff.
The highly specified aft deck.
The busy winch room.
Interior fit-out of the wheelhouse is typical of high standards throughout the vessel.
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Macduff Shipyards Limited have recently completed their most prestigious order to date with the handing over of the Fisheries Research Vessel (FRV) ' Alba Na Mara' . The 27m steel vessel was built for the Fisheries Research Services, an agency of the Scottish Executive, to replace FRV " Clupea" .

From a base at Fraserburgh, the vessel will carry out inshore research, surveys and monitoring work to underpin advice given to government in relation to Scotland's fisheries and aquaculture sectors. It is equipped with a sophisticated range of deck machinery and electronics to allow a wide range of fishing and environmental sampling operations to be carried out, and will carry 15 personnel for up to 14 days.Designed as a research vessel suitable for fisheries research, single, twin, pelagic/demersal/trawling and scallop dredging, hydrographic sampling, surveying and camera work, the vessel's area of operation covers the whole of the British Isles.

Alba Na Mara will be operated in all seasons and to facilitate scientific operation, the sea keeping properties and stability have been optimised to provide a safe working platform in conditions up to Beaufort Force 6, sea state 5-6.

The vessel design features a round bilge hull form with bulbous bow, transom stern and ballast keel. The hull and three quarter length upper deck are constructed in steel, and the wheelhouse constructed in marine grade aluminium alloy. Extensive studies were undertaken in conjunction with CTO Poland on the hull form and the shape of the bilge keels before construction started. In view of the nature of the work to be undertaken, extensive studies were also made in reducing noise and vibration in the vessel, under the direction of Van Cappellen Consultancy of Holland.

The vessel was built entirely at Macduff, with the steel kit being produced by the yard's profiling division. The project was managed by Macduff Ship Design Limited.

The 163.47gt vessel has a beam of 8.8m and a moulded depth of 4.3m. It is certified category 1 in the UK MCA Small Commercial Vessel and Pilot Boat Code, able to sail up to 150 miles from safe haven.

Twin screw propulsion features twin Mitsubishi S6R MPTKF main engines, each rated 630 hp at 1,600 rpm, driving through Reintjes WAF364L gearboxes with 4.92:1 reduction ratio to 1,800mm diameter five bladed open Promarain propellers. The engines are flexibly mounted, with the gearboxes free standing and electrically driven standby lube oil pumps provided. Mapron type inboard tailshaft seals and Spurs rope cutters are fitted.

Scania main generators are situated in the engine room, each with an output of 220kw 415/3/50. The sets were produced by Beta Marine Limited. A Mitsubishi 6D16T harbour set supplied by Macduff Diesels Ltd with 97kw 415/3/50 output was fitted in the aft machinery space. The gearboxes, box coolers for all engines, Kobelt 3 station electric engine controls, Promarin propellers, and tailshaft seals were all supplied by European Marine & Machinery Agencies, whilst the flexible engine mounts and flexible exhaust mounts were supplied by Vibracoustics.

The deck machinery package was supplied by Rapp Ecosse UK Ltd and consists of three type TWS-705 split trawl winches and an electric remore control system, two type GWB680 auxiliary winches with electric remote control, a type NDD 1200/3500 net drum, a type HW-500 RTC cable winch, three PTS Pentagon ULT length measuring systems, a type AW580 double anchor windlass, a type AW580 double anchor windlass, a type RW-200 hydrographic winch and a type M12 gilson winch.

Also on deck is a Triplex 18 t/m cargo handling crane, a Triplex 10.5 t/m powerblock crane, a 24" powerblock, a type REND 300 net drum, a trawl computer system by PTS Pentagon and three electric powerpacks.

Also incorporated in the deck machinery hydraulics are a mini cable winch by Svendborg Hydraulic A/S Denmark, a hydraulic gamma frame by Odim A/S Norway and Thrustmaster bow and stern thrusters supplied by European Marine. The steering gear system by Wills Ridley Limited and a Kongsberg Maritime C-Joy station keeping system was also fitted.

The Alba Na Mara has been equipped with a sophisticated array of marine electronics using the latest developments in display integration. Eleven of the sixteen bridge monitors are connected to a 16-way NTI video matrix which in turn is connected to all the bridge equipments, allowing the skipper full flexibility when engaged in different types of survey work. In addition, the bridge NTI video matrix is connected to another 16-way NTI video matrix installed in the Alba Na Mara’s dry laboratory, allowing scientists working in the dry/wet laboratory areas to view a comprehensive picture of the vessel’s movements at all times.

CCTV images are displayed using the same monitors both in the bridge and wet/dry lab areas. Three MIC1-400 pan/tilt and zoom cameras rated to IP68 and featuring 360º pan and 320º tilt capabilities, provide the skipper and scientists with a clear picture of the deck areas whilst winch and engine room cameras monitor the machinery areas. All CCTV images are continuously recorded.

Alba Na Mara has been fitted with two Mini ECDIS Sodena chartplotters fitted with AIS, ARPA, 3D imaging, tide prediction, Wreck and Roxanne modules. Both JRC 5310/6 radars are connected to an Interswitch unit enabling the skipper to select any scanner to operate with the port and starboard mounted control units. Both radars feature full ARPA tracking capabilities. A Simrad AI50 AIS transceiver provides target data to the radars and chartplotters.

Two Simrad GN33D GPS receivers provide position data, whilst two Simrad GC80 Expanded gyros monitor the ship’s heading and a Skipper EML224 Dual Axis Electromagnetic log provides water speed. A Simrad AP50 autopilot with thruster interface is connected to the Wills Ridley steering package and a Kongsberg Maritime C-joy joystick system provides Alba Na Mara with precise vessel control.

Acoustic equipment comprises of a Simrad ES60 Dual Frequency 50/200Khz. echosounder, Suzuki S1800 80Khz. sonar and a Skipper GDF 201 netsounder with colour printer. A Skipper IR301 digital repeater provides depth information on deck to assist with survey equipment deployment.

Alba na Mara’s communications equipment includes a Simrad MS55 Fleet 55 system with voice, data and fax capabilities, two Sailor RT 5022 DSC VHF’s, two Ericson mobile phone terminals four Simrad AX50 GMDSS handheld VHF’s, two Simrad SA50 SART’s and two Simrad EP50 EPIRB’s

Internal communications are provided by two Phontech CS 3130 systems with a CS3132 remote panel mounted in the aft workstation console. The new M9 Satellite TV antenna from KVH has been installed on Alba Na Mara and features a built-in service modem allowing KVH engineers to call the ship directly and remotely test the system. A 16-way Multiswitch supplies television signals to all the cabins and both mess rooms.

Other equipments on board Alba Na Mara include a JRC Navtex receiver, Taiyo weather fax, Scantronic intruder alarm system and ECO-9 CCTV digital video recorder with Multiview.

Alba Na Mara is the first research vessel worldwide to be fitted with the new Simrad HU20 transducer hoist. A special mounting pod fitted to the HU20, designed in conjunction with Fishery Research Services, Macduff Shipyards and Echomaster Marine, contains the three Simrad Split Beam transducers operating on 38, 120 and 200Khz.

The new ethernet controller from Simrad, allows the HU20 to be lowered to varying distances below the keel, up to a maximum of one metre. Using this unique feature, the transducers can be lowered to a pre-determined position repeatedly. By lowering the transducers below the vessel, acoustic noise generated by the vessel is minimised, ensuring data collected is of a high quality.

A Simrad EK60 scientific echosounder collects acoustic data from all three frequencies which can then be stored on the Alba Na Mara’s powerful data acquisition system supplied by Werum AG. A Kongsberg Seatex MRU-H motion sensor monitors the ships pitch/roll and heave movement and this information is stored for later retrieval during post processing of the collected acoustic data.

Special attention has been paid to interfacing all the equipment on board Alba Na Mara to minimise potential problems and provide future expansion capabilities. Nineteen Actisense NBF-2 fully optically isolated NMEA buffers and one NBC-4 multiplexer have been used throughout the vessel, all connected with 1,000m of data cable.

Seatronics Ltd of Peterhead completed the installation and commissioning for all Scanmar products on board the Alba Na Mara. The Scanmar system consists of the new ScanScreen system, the second to be installed on a research institute vessel.

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