he Global Class research vessels in the U.S. Academic Research Fleet is comprised of four vessels—three of which are the U.S. Navy’s AGOR-23 Class. All three vessels in this class have surpassed the midpoint of their service lives, with R/V Thomas G. Thompson delivered in 1991, R/V Roger Revelle in 1996, and R/V Atlantis in 1997. Avoiding the high cost of constructing new Global class research vessels, major overhauls on these ships are expected to extend operation to at least 40 years. With funds appropriated by the U.S. Congress, the Office of Naval Research (ONR) has contracted with the vessel operators to manage the overhauls with an emphasis on repowering and modernization of the vessels. In 2012, the University of Washington awarded the midlife design contract to Seattle-based naval architecture and marine engineering consultancy Glosten. Glosten has now completed the midlife refit engineering and design of the 274foot R/V Thompson and R/V Revelle. Work on the R/V Atlantis is underway, with Glosten’s design package slated for completion in early 2019. Each sistership’s overhaul package includes a repower, replacement, 24 Marine Log // July 2018
or refurbishment of aging shipboard equipment, modifications for environmental and regulatory compliance, and replacement of technically obsolete shipboard machinery. While each vessel has had several unique refit requirements, many of Glosten’s work packages were reusable from vessel to vessel. Additionally, lessons learned from the overhaul of the Thompson have been applied to the development of the Revelle and Atlantis design packages. “The AGOR-23’s are some of the most capable vessels in the UNOLS fleet,” said Tim Leach, Director of Engineering at Glosten. “The costs of replacing them would have far exceeded the cost to overhaul them. While midlife refits of this kind are invasive and technically challenging, designing the refits for these vessels in sequence has allowed us to provide excellent value by applying lessons learned in each previous redesign to the ensuing vessel.” Thompson, Revelle, and Atlantis are operated by the University of Washington, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, respectively. According to Leach, designing the midlife overhauls has required managing input from each of the operating agencies,
along with ONR, vessel crew, and staff. “Glosten continues to position itself as a leader in the research vessel market, and this series of projects demonstrates our ability to leverage our knowledge of vessel operators’ shared needs as well as their unique requirements,” Leach added. Thompson, currently conducting research operations in the South Pacific, is operating with improved capabilities and greater regulatory compliance: a new transducer well allows transducers to be used without being hard mounted to the ship, new EPA Tier III compliant engines run more efficiently and produce lower emissions, upgraded silencers reduce deck noise, and an integrated bus has improved overall efficiency. “There is a lot of positive feedback, and a lot of positive comments from crew,” said Bryan Blondeau, University of Washington Project Engineer for the Thompson refit. For Revelle, Glosten provided a design basis, general specifications, a stability evaluation, a weight change integration, cost estimates, a bow thruster noise/vibration study, regulatory liaison, and an A&D Contract Package that was recently put out for bid. Glosten has begun to adapt many of these work items for Atlantis.
University of Washington
Midlife Refits for the AGOR-23 Class Continue