Offshore Service Vessels as Adaptive Platforms
Global Oceans is working with the international ocean science community as a strategic, operational and transactional bridge between scientific institutions and the private-sector to enable greater use of existing private-sector infrastructure for ocean science. The differentiating operational strategy is the selective mobilization of regionally-deployed offshore service vessels (OSVs), chartered on a short-term basis for the duration of each expedition.
Chartered OSVs are drawn from a globally distributed fleet of several thousand vessels operating in the offshore energy sector and available for time charter on a routine basis. Chartered vessels are adapted for scientific research with modular lab systems and instrumentation shipped to the local expedition project office and installed on deck at each expedition departure port. Project offices, local logistics and asset security are facilitated through a port services provider with over 360 global port offices.
This adaptive research vessel approach is called MARV for Modular Adaptive Research Vessel. Global Oceans’ ability to bring vessels into service as needed and configure them for research in this way results in a demand-based, mission-adaptive and readily scalable operational capacity that increases the geographic scope and frequency of access to open ocean and deep sea environments for scientific research. Regionally-deployed MARVs eliminate significant capital investment and annual operational costs that would be required to scale up traditionally structured research capacity associated with owned vessels. Mobilization and deployment within the region of study also eliminates long transits from home ports.
Global Oceans is engaging with academic institutions, individual scientists, intergovernmental bodies, government agencies, private-sector companies, nonprofit organizations, research programs and global initiatives. It is working with these communities to integrate the MARV strategy where it can fill resource gaps and expand research capacity. Global Oceans is developing new program initiatives, such as the Global Seamount Assessment Program (GSAP), that leverage the MARV strategy to enable a scale of research and private-sector asset integration that is not otherwise available from a single managing entity.
Additional Resources: (1) Costopulos, J, “Regionally-Deployed Adaptive Platforms for Ocean Science“, Progress and Communication in Sciences, Vol 2, No. 1, December, 2015. Read paper here. (2) Trevisanut, S., et al. “Delving Deeper: Critical challenges for 21st century deep-sea research.” Position Paper 22 of the European Marine Board (2015); in Chapter 6: Enablement (Box 6.3 – The Global Oceans Model, p.166). Read paper here.
Laboratory Systems: Modular Optimization
Global Oceans has developed a strategy of “modular optimization” involving the unitized design of self-contained modular laboratories, with redundant internal systems, that can be shipped economically to any global port. By focusing on the functional capacity of each lab and aligning them to support specific analytical needs, Global Oceans can select from the broadest array of chartered vessels to host these optimized “science payloads”.
Through the use of modular laboratories and work space, Global Oceans is enabling the efficient conversion of chartered offshore service vessels into fully functioning ocean science research facilities. These purpose-built structures are designed for shipment on standard cargo vessels for cost-effective delivery to expedition departure ports from five global hubs. All modular systems meet American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) design standards for human habitation.
Global Oceans acquires modular support systems from a worldwide rental fleet and adapts them for the scientific requirements of each mission; with additional agreements to design, build and inventory special labs to support mission-specific and program needs as needed. Dual-door entry on all systems regulates interior environmental conditions, individually controlled for the activities supported by each lab and essential for expeditions mounted across a range of climates and temperature extremes. Polar-adapted modular lab systems have also been developed for use on Arctic MARV projects (see more about these systems here).
An important component of the Global Oceans model is the provision of operational logistics on a worldwide basis. The use of regionally deployed chartered vessels, rather than dedicated research vessels that come fully equipped to a region of study, requires a base of operations at the mobilization port. The base port needs dedicated personnel with local logistics expertise, access to port services, office space, local access to spare parts and supplies, and secure receipt and storage of mission assets shipped in advance of the expedition.
Global Oceans achieves this through its partnership with a global port services firm managing over 60,000 port calls annually, with a network of 360 port offices in 120 countries. This extensive operational reach will ensure reliable and cost-effective mobilization capacity for Global Oceans-enabled research expeditions around the world, including from the most remote locations.