The University of Alaska and US National Science Foundation’s 261ft by 52ft oceanographic research vessel Sikuliak has departed Seward, Alaska on her first research voyage to the Aleutian Islands and the Bering Sea, leaving in April. The $200 million ship, largely funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, was completed by Wisconsin’s Marinette Marine Corporation last year, but delivery was delayed due to several technical problems.

The 1,556dwt vessel makes use of a diesel/electric propulsion system incorporating two 16-cylinder and two 12-cylinder MTU diesels driving twin ice-strengthened Wärtsilä azimuthing thrusters for an open water speed of 14.2 knots and two knots in up to 2.5ft of new ice. The research ship’s 4,360ft2 aft deck is fitted with twin hydraulic cranes and an A-frame, while a centre line drop keel is used for deploying underwater sensors. JS

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