The vessel, formerly known as Alucia2 has been undergoing an extensive rebuild at Damen Shiprepair Rotterdam.
OceanXplorer will continue the work of OceanX’s first research vessel, Alucia, broadening understanding of Earth’s oceans. Alewijnse’s work on the project has involved the complete electrical refit.
Broad and diverse scope
Alewijnse’s scope of work on the project has been a broad and diverse one. For example, the company installed a far sounder to enable clear detection below the surface of the water. As OceanXplorer will operate in polar regions, this includes critically important iceberg detection capabilities. The company has also installed underwater lighting and an underwater telephone system, enabling communication from the vessel to submersibles.
Alewijnse installed two separate lighting systems – one for switching and dimming of normal light fixtures and one for controlling light temperature. Amongst other things, this facilitates filming capabilities; an important part of OceanXplorer’s mission to provide the world with greater information about our seas and oceans.
The company has upgraded the vessel’s bridge ECDIS system – including the installation of a 55-inch Touchscreen monitor – and optimised the DP2 system with the application of the latest controls and software. Alewijnse has also upgraded the vessel’s alarm and monitoring system.
A further challenge during the project execution has been presented by the outbreak of the Covid-19 virus. Peter van Campen, Alewijnse project manager explained: “The wellbeing of all people working on the vessel has naturally been our primary concern at all times. Ensuring this has naturally involved placing strict limitations on the number of people on board the vessel at any one time. However, we enjoy an excellent collaboration with the yard and our co-workers. This carefully coordinated cooperation has ensured our ability to continue working safely during this time.”
This is a complex, specialist project. The OceanXplorer features the characteristics of an offshore vessel, a scientific research ship and a deluxe eco-tourism liner. The many projects that Damen has worked with Alewijnse on over the years include all three of these vessel types. Therefore, we were confident in their ability to meet the challenges presented by the OceanXplorer refit – and this judgement has certainly proven to be correct.
Tjarco Ekkelkamp, project director for the OceanXplorer project @Damen Shiprepair Rotterdam
OceanX was founded in 2018 with a mission is to explore the ocean and share its discoveries with the world. OceanX combines next generation technology, science and storytelling to educate, inspire and connect the world with the ocean and convenes leading scientists, media entities, global leaders and philanthropy partners to drive towards greater understanding and protection of our oceans. OceanX’s milestones to date including capturing the first ever footage of the Giant Squid in its natural habitat and the first 1,000 metre deep sea submersible dives to the Antarctic seafloor.
As OceanX believes the ocean to be our most important and least explored natural resource, their team has sought to create a state-of-the-art science and media vessel, converting a former oil-survey ship into a one-of-a-kind platform for exploration, science and storytelling – OceanXplorer.
Pictures by Taj Howe and Andy Mann