Arctic Patrol Cutter?

While looking into Fincantieri’s US operation regarding the OPC, I ran across reference to an Ice Capable ship being built for the National Science Foundation. The ship is the Sikuliaq, pronounced [see-KOO-lee-auk]. It “will be a 260-foot oceanographic research ship capable of bringing scientists to the ice-choked waters of Alaska and the polar regions. When complete, the vessel will be one of the most advanced university research vessels in the world and will be able to break ice up to 2.5 feet thick. Currently under construction at Marinette Marine Corporation, a shipyard in Marinette, Wisconsin, the Sikuliaq will be ready for unrestricted science operations in 2014 and will be home ported in Alaska, at UAF’s Seward Marine Center in Seward.” More info here.

It’s only a light icebreaker and it isn’t very fast, but with a flight deck and a little more power, mightn’t this be the basis for an affordable patrol ship that can give us a seasonal presence in the Arctic? The price is reportedly $200M (revised from original post).

Length, Overall LOA 260 feet
Length, Design Waterline LWL 237 feet 0 inches
Beam, Max across reamer Bmax 52 feet
Beam, Max across hull amidship Bmidship 48 feet
Depth, Keel to Main Deck D 28 feet
Draft, Design Waterline TDWL 18 feet 9 inches
Freeboard, Design Waterline FDWL 8 feet 9 inches
Displacement at Design Waterline 3,665 long tons
Propulsion Power P 5,750 BHP


Endurance 45 days
Endurance, Hotel Only 60 days
Speed, Calm Open Water Vcalm 14.2 knots
Speed, 4 M Sea (13.1 ft) Vss 5 12.3 knots
Level Ice at 2 knots Ice thickness 3 feet

Capacities and Working Areas

Science Berths 26
Crew Berths 20
Science deadweight 100 long tons
Science/Storage Vans, 8 feet x 20 feet 2 – 4 vans
Science storage 8,000 cubic feet
Diesel Fuel, at 95% 170,000 gallons
Fresh Water, at 100% 13,150 gallons
Water making capacity 6,000 gallons/day
Provisions 60 days
Holding capacity 24 hours
Science Labs 2250 square feet
Deck Working Area 4360 square feet

10 thoughts on “Arctic Patrol Cutter?

  1. Nick apparently STXMarine got their calculations wrong. From what I heard, the Protector class is overweight so its icebelt is in the wrong place.

    There are lots of designs if you look outside the US, but the unique thing about the Sikuliaq is that it is already being built in the US. The only other designs built in the USA that are close, other than the Mackinaw, which was also made by Marinette, are the two ships we talked about here: which were built in Louisiana. Those two were built in the 90s.

    • So Chuck, do u think the US Coast Guard would by the blueprint design and heavily modify it to US Coast Guard Standards and US Navy Standards.

      • I really don’t think the Coast Guard is thinking seriously about it right now. The “Protector” class looks an lot like a Cutter we might consider, the speed is not bad, but its ice protection is minimal.

      • Would the Coast Guard consider the Protector class offshore patrol vessel design to replace the 210 and 270s. It looks like a good contender to replace the 210s and 270s.

        What about the Knud Rasmussen class patrol vessel, Would this be something the US Coast Guard might consider as their Arctic Patrol Cutter
        Knud Rasmussen class patrol vessel

      • The OPC is the design planned to replace the 210s and 270s. The Protector looks a bit slower and smaller than the ship they have been talking about, but its always possible our ambitions may be down sized.

        The thing I see as an immediate problem with the Knud Rasmussen is the limited range. 3,000 nmi. is never going to cut it. Again it is relatively small and slow. Speed is probably going to be less important for the Arctic Patrol Vessel, but it will definitely need lots of endurance.

  2. perhaps you mean the ice stregthened research ships built for the National Science Foundation at one of the Chouest shipyards? They are building a newer one now?

  3. Lee,

    I was referring to the 94 meter (310 foot) icebreaker R/V Nathaniel B. Palmer, built in 1992, and the 76 meter (251 foot) ice-strengthened (Ice class ABS A1) RV Laurence M. Goul,  built in 1997. Both were built by Edison Chouest Offshore Inc., Galliano, Louisiana.

    Was that a question, or are you saying Chouest is in the process of building another? I haven’t heard of another.

  4. Pingback: Ice Capable Research Vessel “Sikuliac” Delivered NSF | Chuck Hill's CG Blog

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