SHIP SURVEY | MJM Enterprise – A research boat supporting the marine renewable energy sector

Marshall Jakeman Marine (MJM), a British shipbuilding and marine services company, recently welcomed a new research vessel to its fleet.

Built by MJM to a design by the architectural firm SC McAllister and Company, MJM Enterprise is designed to meet the future requirements of marine renewable energy projects, offering rapid mobilization for research and related activities, onboard processing and spacious, comfortable accommodation.

A compact multi-purpose vessel

MJM Enterprise will support multidisciplinary projects including hydrographic and geophysical surveys, remotely operated vehicle (ROV) inspections, and benthic/environmental sampling. The solution for diving work, if necessary, will be to use a four-point mooring system.

“We worked with Ian Paton and his team at SC McAllister and Company and defined exactly what we wanted, based on the previous design with some changes,” said Chris Jakeman, managing director at MJM Baird Morski. “We had a lot of input into the design and then we had to finish working on it.”

The company’s previous diving support vessel, built in 2015, was built in 2015, Jakeman said Curtiss Marshall, served as a starting point. The service vessel was required to be built to the same criteria, with the only exception being that the new ship did not have to have any diving equipment on board, unlike its predecessor.

“It was built to fill a gap in the market,” Jakeman added. “There are not many 24 m (79 ft) vessels that can fill the gap between 15 m boats and larger 40 m (130 ft) vessels for research purposes.”

MJM Enterprise, a new research boat operated by Marshall Jakeman Marine
Photo: Marshall Jakeman Marine

“It’s an extension of what we did Curtiss Marshall, which we also designed,” explained Ian Paton, naval architect at SC McAllister and Company. “MJM wanted to be able to work in more challenging marine conditions, which could otherwise limit their ability to conduct surveying work.”

Paton added that MJM has specific requirements for fuel, fresh water and the number of bathtubs. The ship has a wider beam, allowing the crane to be mounted on the side.

“Instead of starting with a blank sheet of paper, we took something we had worked on before and tried to expand the design even further,” Paton said. “It is a high-performance boat, intended for research work in response to the demand for underwater vessels. The entire ship is of a fairly conventional design, which has also been optimized to minimize fuel consumption and maximize thrust from available power.

On-board equipment and electronics set optimized for surveying work

MJM Enterprise she has an LOA of 26.7 m (87.6 ft), a beam of 8.1 m (27 ft) and a draft of three meters (9.8 ft). The propulsion system includes two Doosan 4V158TIH main engines driving fixed-pitch propellers providing a speed of 10 knots.

Also on board are a Kort Propulsion KT170 bow thruster, a Hydromaster retractable stern thruster, two 79 kVA generators and a 125 kW generator. The latter allows the ship to cruise at speeds of up to five knots without having to rely on the main engines. The ship is also equipped with an anti-cavitation tunnel located in the gap between the rudder and the propellers.

“We removed the electric motor and replaced it with a clutch,” Jakeman said. “We also asked the company to provide a hydraulic motor and integrate it with the system. We didn’t want to put two large generators on board just to power the other machines, as they would take up a lot of space in the engine room.”

Articulating boom crane on the aft deck on MJM Enterprise, a new research boat operated by Marshall Jakeman Marine
Photo: Marshall Jakeman Marine

Key features of the ship include an 85-square-meter (910-square-foot) work deck that can accommodate two 20-foot-long containers. The ship also provides various sensor mounting options, including a 1.2-meter (3.9-foot) moon pool for placing sensors through the hull.

To improve seaworthiness, MJM Enterprise includes a dynamic positioning system and a passive anti-skid reservoir. The latter significantly reduces the ship’s roll, thus extending the available weather windows, and also satisfies the shipowner’s need for stability at low speeds.

“We wanted to get better all-weather performance compared to what we achieved with the Curtiss Marshall,” Jakeman said.

The five-ton A-frame with integrated winch provides five meters (16 feet) of internal ground clearance and flanges on both the outside and inside for increased towing width. With additional booms at the top and connection to a 38-tonne crane, the A-frame is ideal for surveying, ROV support, shallow geotechnical data collection and environmental activities.

MJM has made improvements to the ship’s deck crane to increase its reach, thereby providing greater operational flexibility. This and other custom work on the ship was implemented after the company identified machine improvements that could be made in-house rather than outsourced, thereby minimizing costs and ensuring that each piece of equipment was exactly as needed .

The boat is also equipped with mooring and anchor winches and removable port and starboard sides to allow resources to be deployed on the side.

For the electrical installation, MJM turned to a local company that reviewed the panel designs and integrated them all into one master control panel that handled the entire electrical distribution. The electronics kit includes Furuno radars, Simrad autopilot and ICOM VHF and MF/HF radios.

“We decided to use three distribution strips instead of one,” added Jakeman. “We also asked them to integrate the bilge monitoring system and create a separate panel connected to the main panel. This is all designed as a single solution rather than multiple separate panels.”

A very stable platform with appropriate equipment

The ship has 20 berths, including 12 for the chartering staff. The spacious work kitchen can serve up to 10 people at a time, while the separate lounge area provides a comfortable space to relax. Other facilities include a client office and a dedicated laboratory/technology room.

“We encountered challenges in developing a solution for the stabilization system and placing additional compartments in the existing design,” said Jakeman Baird Morski. “We also started the design work in a hurry because we wanted everything to be up and running before the imposition of the Tier 2 emissions cut-off, which was then set for the second half of December 2020.”

MJM Enterprise, a new research boat operated by Marshall Jakeman Marine
Photo: Red Lion Marine

Jakeman also noted that development of the ship highlighted the importance of spending more time in the earliest stages of development: “From our point of view, we wanted good stability, which means we didn’t want the boat to have a large GM (metacentric height) or be too fast in action,” he noted. “At the same time, we have a large crane on the port side, which requires a large GM. So the challenge was to design something that was comfortable and didn’t roll too much.”

Paton explained that the problem was solved by installing ballast tanks and a flood tank. The tanks have been raised and can be emptied when the crane is used to lift heavy loads.

“Regulation-wise, something that was satisfactory and acceptable for the Curtiss Marshall has become more difficult for this ship,” Paton added. “The authorities also tightened the construction requirements, and we tried to meet them. We have learned to be better prepared because it takes much longer to satisfy the authorities and provide the required information and calculations.”

Paton said the boat must also meet damage stability requirements because of its range. The steel structure also had to be adjusted to accommodate the retractable azimuth thruster. MJM Enterprise will be available for commercial charter once sea trials are completed.

MJM Enterprise
Ship type: Research boat
Classification: MGN 280 – MCA category 1
Flag: Great Britain
Owner: Marshall Jakeman Marine, UK
Designer: SC McAllister and Co, UK
Builder: Marshall Jakeman Marine, UK
Hull construction material: steel
Total length: 26.7 m (87.6 ft)
Bar: 8.1 m (27 ft)
Design: 3.0 meters (9.8 ft)
Capacity: 85 square meters (910 square feet)
Main engines: 2x Doosan 4V158TIH
Drive: 2 x propellers; Hydromaster azimuth thruster
Generators: 2×79 kVA; 125 kW
Side thruster: Court Drive KT170
Max speed: 10 knots
Radars: Furuno
Autopilot: Simrad
Other deck equipment: Frame
Other equipment installed: Anti-tilt tank; moon pool
Fuel Type: MGO
Fuel Capacity: 15,000 liters (3,300 gal)
Fuel consumption: 110 liters (24 gal) per hour at 10 knots
Freshwater Capacity: 27,000 liters (5,900 gal)
Black water capacity: 3,000 liters (700 gal)
Accommodation: Berths; galley; living room; client office; lab
Crew: 12