R/V Thuwal II: Designed for Red Sea Research

  • Client:
    King Abdullah University of Science & Technology
  • Project Type:
    Vessel Design & Modification, Research Vessels
  • Service Categories:
    Naval Architecture
    Marine Engineering
  • Vessel Overview:
    164-Foot (50-Meter) Research Vessel
  • Challenge:
    Design a research vessel for operations in the Red Sea.


The R/V Thuwal has provided Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) with a platform for oceanographic research since 2012. Retrofitted from an Australian fishing vessel, the 23-year-old Thuwal is understandably limited in its capabilities and to certain sea conditions. With their expanding scope of research and increasing need for greater functionality from their fleet, the University was ready for a new purpose-built vessel to support science missions in the Red Sea.

KRV 50m Rendering Model - 20221029-2


KAUST selected Glosten to develop the design for the Thuwal II: an advanced 164-foot (50-meter) research vessel built for year-round operations in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aqaba. Scientists aboard the vessel will be able to collect data and retrieve seawater, sediment, and biological samples from as deep as 3,000 meters, reaching the bottom of the Red Sea. The deck is designed to deploy heavy equipment and sophisticated instrumentation for a variety of marine-based disciplines, including bioscience, marine science, and physical oceanographic research. The vessel will also be a platform for green-energy technology development, support long-duration remote and autonomous vehicles, and house geoscience sampling systems.

The Red Sea plays a central role in Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030. The collaboration with Glosten has resulted in the first bespoke design to address the challenging conditions of the Red Sea. R/V Thuwal II will be a unique national resource to enable the research ambitions of KAUST and Saudi Arabia.

– Daniel Acevedo-Feliz, Director of KAUST Core Labs