New research vessel Atair under construction in Germany

New research vessel Atair under construction in Germany

The "Atair" survey, wreck-search and research vessel – currently under construction at Fassmer in Berne, Germany – is equipped with SCHOTTEL propulsion systems.

Ordered by the German Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (BSH), the vessel meets the highest environmental standards and is considered the first seagoing government agency vessel with low-emission liquid gas propulsion.

The propulsion system of the "Atair" comprises a SCHOTTEL Pump Jet type SPJ 220 (1,000 kW), one SCHOTTEL Transverse Thruster type STT 1 FP (330 kW) in the bow and one SCHOTTEL Transverse Thruster type STT 170 FP (200 kW) in the stern. The research vessel thus achieves maximum manoeuvrability. The Pump Jet can also be used as a standby unit (take-home device). 

The vessel’s underwater noise has been optimized to meet the DNV SILENT Class Notation (SILENT R). The SCHOTTEL propulsion units are also characterized by particularly low noise emissions. This ensures a protected maritime environment as well as optimal conditions for scientific work aboard the vessel.

The "Atair" is powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG). There is a large 130 m³ tank on board which enables the ship to run on LNG alone for ten days. When opting for diesel operation (dual fuel), high-quality diesel fuel oil with a sulphur content less than 0.1 percent is used.

The new BSH ship also complies with the stringent International Maritime Organisation (IMO Tier III) standards for the emissions of Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) as well as the regulations of the US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA Tier IV) for soot particle emissions. It meets the requirements for the "Blue Angel" awarded by the German Federal Ministry of the Environment for eco-friendly ship design.

The vessel can accommodate a total of 18 crew members and 15 scientists. The equipment includes several laboratories, a station for measuring air pollution while at sea, a crane, a bridle beam for geological activities on the seabed, a large 200 m² work deck and extensive diving equipment – including a diving chamber.

The "Atair" is 75 m long and roughly 17 m wide, making it the largest research vessel in the BSH fleet. The new research vessel, whose home port will be Hamburg, will replace the previous "Atair", which entered operation in 1987.

It is due to be commissioned in the spring of 2020.