Naval architecture firm Glosten announced it has completed the design for the R/V Thuwal II, KAUST (King Abdullah University of Science and Technology)’s new research vessel optimized for generalized oceanography and tailored to the Middle East’s hot climate.
Once built, it will be the largest and most specialized research vessel based in the Red Sea, supporting everything from biology to geology.
The new vessel will replace the existing Thuwal, which is more than 20 years old and has served KAUST scientists for as many as 220 days at sea per year since 2013. Originally designed as a fishing vessel for navigating the coastal waters of Australia, the retrofitted 34.7-meter long Thuwal is limited in the tasks and sea conditions it can manage. As KAUST expands its research ambitions for studying the Red Sea, a robust vessel with optimal functionality is required.
The new Glosten-designed ship will offer custom designed features to meet a broad range of oceanographic missions, including seawater, sediment, and biological sampling to the full depth of the Red Sea, approximately 3,000 meters.
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At 50 meters long, the vessel will be significantly larger and offer a greater range of operational capabilities. The deck will be designed to deploy heavy equipment and sophisticated instrumentation for multiple disciplines, including geoscience, bioscience, marine science, and oceanographic research interests. The RV will be equipped with an advanced positioning system to enable deployment of long-duration remote and autonomous vehicles as well as geoscience sampling systems.
In addition to the design, Glosten will provide shipyard tendering support and construction oversight through delivery to KAUST, with the project slated to complete in 2026.