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Project Management of Major Vessel Refit

Research Vessel Thuwal

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With its origins as an Australian-built tuna fishing vessel, the Thuwal was purchased in 2013 by the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST).

A highly manoeuvrable vessel with a capacity of 8 crew and 14 scientists, the RV Thuwal can stay at sea for up to 20 days, making it ideal for marine research expeditions across the Red Sea.

KAUST engaged Maritime Survey Australia to update their Safety Management System and complete a condition survey of the RV Thuwal in 2016.

MSA surveyors Mick Uberti and Isi Lyons identified issues with the vessel that would require a comprehensive refit to ensure safety, compliance and asset life extension. This included wiring upgrades, installation of new navigational equipment, a new galley, a scientific survey room and a vessel upgrade of the hydraulics, heating, ventilation and cooling systems. This resulted in a search for a suitable dry dock, and Electrical and HVAC contractors.

We considered six different shipyards, applying a rating system based on location, quality, facilities and price, and settled on the Lusben Shipyard in Viareggio, Italy.

Following meetings with various Electrical and HVAC contractors, we applied a similar rating system and chose Olectric based in Sydney, Australia and Penguin Marine based in Antibes, France to complete the work. As the electrical and HVAC refit would take 3 months we needed to ensure the contractors were capable of delivering.

Later, Isabelle Bazile was appointed as a Project Manager to oversee the budget and timeline, and to manage the crew and contractors. Daily toolbox meetings over an espresso and cornetto con marmalade was a typical beginning of each day!

We developed a process flowchart to ensure the drydocking would be able to set a baseline for pricing once the vessel was hauled and assessed. We also developed in-house Project Management software to ensure all relevant parties could monitor progress and budget in real time.

The vessel was delivered in 3 months.

MSA has several vessels currently under construction or under refit in various locations in Australia and around the world. Not all of them can be mentioned for confidentiality reasons, however, some examples of current projects can be found at our Refit Project Management Services Page.

All our surveyors are accredited with the International Institute of Marine Surveying, RINA, AIMS, and IMarEST. We will remain impartial in all of our business dealings, and we will never conduct business in a manner which could place our business integrity or impartiality at risk or question.

If you would like to engage MSA as a project manager for a planned vessel refit or a new build, or would simply like to understand the benefits of completing a conditional vessel survey, please contact us at mail@maritimesurveyaustralia.com.au.

Project Photos
Out of water vessel refit project
Project Management of major vessel refit - Maritime Survey Australia
Vessel refit of thuwal marine research vessel
King Abdullah University Marine Research Vessel Refit
Out of water vessel refit project
Project Management of major vessel refit - Maritime Survey Australia
Vessel refit of thuwal marine research vessel
King Abdullah University Marine Research Vessel Refit
Major Achievments
  • Fuel Efficiency has gone from 2400 litres per day to 1800 litres per day @1600RPM
  • Energy use has gone from 45 AMP to 32 AMP
Major Works
  • Electrical refit completed enabled Generator load sharing
  • Navigation equipment upgrade
  • Research Survey monitoring room upgrade
  • HVAC upgrade which includes Air Conditioning chilled water system
  • Refrigeration upgrade
  • LED lighting complete upgrade by LEDified
  • Bilge / Fire System upgrade
  • New Hull Blister and Scientific upgrade
  • Galley upgrade
  • Hull plating in various areas replaced
  • Tank monitoring is now possible
  • Remote Control Throttle capability enabling the captain to stabilise the vessel more efficiently