InnovationDays MOTUS Foundation
Webinarium, 28.04.2021r. online 

Marek Narewski
Polski Rejestr Statków S.A., Gdańsk

Selected aspects for safe use of alternative fuelson small vessels

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New concepts, new designs and technologies in response to market demand for research and special purposes ships. Short review of ships classed by PRS.

Marek Narewski
Research and Development Division
Polski Rejestr Statków S.A.


Innovations for marine research

Progress in ocean sciences and development our knowledge about sea and ocean  resources is not possible without research ships. Every time, when maritime research community is looking for new ship, there is  always demand for new technologies to be implemented in such new design. Last years of PRS activity, brought some interesting  projects where new design concepts were  subject of PRS involvement like ships design approval and surveys during construction and sea trials. Major problem with assessment of new ideas is that are planned to be included into new ship design. This is quite often related to lack of clear requirements in classification rules or standards as well as there is lack of sufficient knowledge either on design office and shipyard side. PRS role is in principle related to review of ship design documentation with presented engineering solutions and their approval at early as well as on later stages. In majority of cases, the customers prefer to invest into known and proofed technology and  in such a case the existing rules are sufficient to help in fast approval.  Actual trends in research ship design directed on hybridization of propulsion and energy saving in order to suppress  ship environmental footprint. That could be  demand for decrease of noise and vibrations  without scarification on functional requirements. Due to technology maturity some solutions are very expensive to be covered by research founds. The scientific community expectations and technical possibilities are to be optimized taking into consideration shipowner preferences, nature of this type of ship and expectations of people they will be accommodated onboard.  The whole subject of ship design process and optimization is quite complex and tend to be more complex as the saturation of ships with new technologies is growing fast with every year. In a short review of innovative ship designs that were completed with PRS as classification projects the following are worth of short presentation.

Research Vessel OCEANIA

Ship is designed by Zygmunt Choreń for oceanographic research with aim to provide cost effective platform for polish scientists to be  operated Institue of Oceanology of Polish Academy of Science  in Baltic and North Sea. The hull was based on plans of earlier tall ships: ORP Iskra II and Pogoria, but its rigging was different. Oceania was originally a full rigged ship, with three masts (each 32 meters high). Vessel  was constructed in Gdańsk Shipyard  under PRS supervision and put into operation. An innovative propulsion system consisted of diesel engine driving CPP propeller and specially designed sails operated by hydraulic system.  On every mast there was only one sail, in the shape of a vertical rectangle (sometimes Oceania was classified as a frigate), but later the yards and the sail from the mizzen-mast were removed. Sails are raised and driven hydraulically remotely controlled and fully operated from ship bridge. 

Ship particulars:

Type of unit:

Brig (before conversion)


48,9 m


9 m


3,8 m


370 t

Constructed in:


Mother port:







13 knots

Number of sails:

3, hydraulic driven

Area of sails:

430 m2


The original design is presented in Figures below.

In 2010, after 25 years of operational  service  Oceania owner got founds and decided for deep conversion of the propulsion system. The modification covered rearrangement of ship interior and labs modifications a well as very demanded installation of the new 600 kW diesel engine MTU series 12V2000M60 that replaced old  WOLA  72H12 engine. Shaftline modification included installation of the shaft generator. Due to experience with sails the new schooner type sails were designed and installed that appeared to be very  effective for longer runs.  New engine was demanded to offer lower fuel consumption as well as requested  noise and vibrations lowering. The conversion was done by Remontowa Shipyard was very complex and covered also modifications or total replacement of number of ship systems like telecommunication and computer infrastructure, exhaust system, ventilation system, fresh water and some others. After few month OCEANIA was ready to sail again heading as usual  for collecting periodical data fro measurement station around polish coast and to support research of Baltic and later as every year to provide support of  research projects doing one more trip to Spitsbergen waters.

r/v OCEANIA after conversion


Main particulars after conversion:


48,9 m / 9,0 m / 3,9 m


370 t

Main engine:

Diesel, 600 kW MTU

Bow thruster:

70 HP

Shaft generator

110 kW


3 off 32 m high


280 m2, electrically driven

Cruise speed:

9 konts

Speed makx.:

12 knots






1 month

The project is good example of use of traditional sail propulsion to lower operational costs as well as to be able to be operated  with minimal footprint due to intensive research in Spitsbergen and surrounded waters.


Research catamaran r/v IMOR

Maritime Institute from Gdańsk expressed demand for stable platform for oceanographic and geological and  geophysical research in coastal waters. The ship concept  was done by Ryszard Łukowski  Ship Design Office. The was finally constructed by DAMEN shipyard in Gdynia and after some financial perturbances was completed by CRIST shipyard and put into operation in 2006. Twin hull – catamaran ship is offering stable and wide deck for various types of research equipment. IMOR appeared  to be the first polish research ship serving as support platform for intensive use of ROVs for various research scientific and survey underwater missions. The main advantage of IMOR  is compact size and shallow draught as well as  diesel electric propulsion coupled with DP1 capability.

The ship is  under PRS supervision and is classed by PRS. Actually,the ship is owned by Maritime University in Gdynia and is operated as floating laboratory performing various research or commercial  mission in Southern Baltic and North Sea areas.


Major particulars:


32,50 m


10,50 m

Draught (mean)

2,21 m

Draught (max)

2,44 m

Displacement (max)

370 t


2500 miles

Speed (cruise)

8.0 knots

Speed max.

10.0 knots

Speed range

0 ÷10 knots

Sailing area

No limits for Area NAV I


21 days. (minimum)

IMO Compliance


The propulsion consists of electrically driven units and include: 2 Schottel azimuth rudder propeller type SCHOTTEL STP 200 – 2 x 300kW as main propulsion and 2  pump jets type SCHOTTEL SPJ 22 – 2 x 75 kW. All propulsors are driven by electrical motors controlled by AC drives. The usage of electrical propulsion system designed for dynamic positioning  created conditions for assignment of additional notation mark DP as conformation of navigation capabilities for automated position and course keeping. Integrated DP system allow to conduct precision navigation and performing research duties when few meter accuracy is required during launch and  recovery of research gear, particularly important during geophysical or sea bottom geological research tasks. IMOR is first polish research vessel that was and is intensively used in research projects conducted  for vital duties related to sea bottom geological reconnaissance. Exploration and survey task are  performed as part of investment activities into oil & gas  and wind farm assets  in polish EEZ of the Baltic Sea (e.g. underwater pipeline and cable laying, jack-up rigs positioning or coastal engineering projects). Due to very shallow draught the ship is able to undertake surveys in coastal areas where traditional monohull ships are not able to operate.

The ships was an object of specific EMC research project where IMOR electric propulsion system was subjected to number of tests and measurements in order to investigate quality of energy generated onboard  and used by ship consumers. Testing was done with PRS attendance and results were used for development of PRS rules on ship electrical system design to comply with requirements for energy quality. Research reports on that issue are available for downloading from PRS web page:


Research catamaran vessel  - r/v OCEANOGRAF

The University of Gdańsk is owner of newest research ship that was constructed by consortium of oldest polish shipyard NAUTA and CRIST Shipyard in Gdynia in 2013/2015. The survey over design and construction was performed by PRS and ship is classes by PRS. The catamaran design that provide a lot of deck space needed for research is typical solution for number of ships. Traditional steel design was selected as traditional technology.

R/v OCEANOGRAF is designed to perform scientific oceanographic research as well as educational service in the Baltic Sea. Twin hull design  provides very stable deck space and safe platform   where roll angle is not exceeding 15° - value that is not possible for traditional monohull vessels. This feature is very demanding in case of vessel used for research and educational tasks.

The ship range is 2500 miles with autonomy of 21 days.


Major particulars:


710 t


20 in 11 cabins

Length  (LOA)

49,5 m

Breadth (B)

14 m

Draught (D)

2 m


165 GT




The ship has got diesel electric propulsion system designed and constructed with cost effectiveness in mind.  Propulsion is provided by four Volvo Penta gensets with total power of 1300 kW. Schottel azimuth pushing thrusters are located  at stern while 2 bow omnidirectional thrusters  PUMP-JET type) provide thrust required to reach speed of 12 knots. Major innovation is in electrical  propulsion where AC drives were produced and commissioned by polish manufacturer. The ships is equipped with dynamic positioning system class DP1 able to provide position keeping necessary for all types of oceanographic research tasks – sea state and wind up to 4stB.  R/v OCANOGRAF passed number of tests and is now operated form Gdynia performing scientific and educational trips, serving as platform for research projects organized by various scientific institutions.


Multipurpose ships Zodiak II i Planeta I


In year 2020 PRS completed survey over design and construction of two multipurpose vessels for Polish Maritime Administration ZODIAK II for Gdynia and PLANETA for Szczecin Office.

Ships of B618 project are designed by REMONTOWA Shipbuilding S.A. PRS preformed design approval and full scope of construction surveys over ship design as well as over ship equipment. The ships are not dedicated to classical research duties, however they are prepared to accommodate various specialists and supporting personnel in case when specific measurements or underwater works or surveys are requested to be done. Due to customer requirements and specific design, they are able to conduct various task related to sea safety  as required by HELCOM and other international regulations and conventions. Ships are prepared to conduct icebreaking, firefighting, towage, oil recovery, rescue operations (SAR) and hydrographic  surveys. Both ship can reach 13 knots and have towing gear classed to 40-tonne bollard pull. Vessels has got DP system installed suitable for operation in harsh South Baltic during whole year. Ship are classed as tug/workboats can perform a multitude of roles requested by shipowner. Salvage, SAR and towing are obvious but they have also been equipped for hydrographic and oceanographic survey and research; buoy tender work; and, among other things, oil spill and pollution control and collection. One of major innovations diesel-electric propulsion systems with full compliance MARPOL VI Reg. 13  due to SCR system for exhaust cleaning.

The Remontowa and PRS are proud of this job due to sea professionals  recognition and reward  assigned by  Baird Maritime readers survey  as best multipurpose ships constructed in 2020. Both ships represent high standards requested for ships that must be prepared to perform multirole  flexibility with reliability  and safety during execution of tasks in harshest marine environment.

Major Particulars:

Length (LOA)

60 m

Breadth (B)

12.8 m

Draught (D)

3.5 m


350 t




13 kn


2 x 1400 kW, Azimuth thrusters  - Steerprop type SP 25WD 
Bow thruster 800kW, ZF Marine Krimpen


Final Note

The outline of  four innovative  ships provided above is very shorts and there is no possibility to describe all new  features the ships possess. Not all innovations are visible and as usual – they need maintenance or upgrading – some of them will  modifications and PRS is open to assist shipowner or shipyard in such activities in order to secure ship safety to highest standard available. The all services or surveys  undertaken by PRS under a contract are performed in accordance with the relevant PRS regulations as well as approved and/or acknowledged documentation. Classification surveys are conducted in accordance with PRS Rules for the Classification and Construction applicable to a particular vessel. The Rules also take into account the requirements of conventions or national regulations relevant to the construction and equipment of vessels in the scope considered by PRS as necessary for the class assignment. PRS may a undertake to carry out technical survey of vessels under construction, modification, reconstruction or repair which are not subject to the corporate regulatory requirements.  PRS is open to supplement the information we have  so  please contact us  by email or any other way as suggested by the contact data at

All graphic materials – public domain of shipowners.