The R/V Thomas G. Thompson is a 30-year-old research vessel operated by the University of Washington and one of three Global Class R/Vs in the US Academic Research Fleet. Having approached the middle of its life, the Thompson needed a number of upgrades to critical systems to continue operation and meet new regulatory requirements. Glosten has provided the Thompson with engineering support since it was built, so we were a natural choice for its midlife overhaul.
Clearly Defined Design
The refit included a re-powering study, a propulsion system integrator market survey and technical specification, and a shipyard technical design package. Many of the systems on the Thompson needed replacement, which required a comprehensive set of specifications and contract plans. Our challenge was to coordinate each major modification with all the affected systems, and to clearly describe the scope and sequence of construction so that shipyards could confidently formulate bids and execute the work.
Superior Systems for Better Performance
We worked closely with stakeholders and crew to understand their goals for the modification effort, and with key vendors to learn about new systems that could allow for added flexibility and operating efficiency. The Thompson’s operations were improved and greater regulatory compliance achieved: general science and habitability upgrades were made to expand science capabilities and improve life at sea, new EPA Tier III compliant engines run more efficiently while producing lower emissions, upgraded silencers have reduced deck noise, and an integrated electrical bus has improved overall efficiency.
Preparing for the Antarctic
After leaving Vigor’s Seattle shipyard in February 2018, the Thompson resumed research operations in the South Pacific and is now expected to remain in service for an additional 20 years. Glosten is currently helping the university determine the minimum allowable operating temperature for the Thompson and reach Polar Code compliance dates, which will allow the vessel to operate in areas near the Antarctic.
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