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In early 2002, a project was submitted that was both ambitious and bold. It was a research vessel for the French shipping company Campagnie National de Navigations, which acted on behalf of the French navy. This construction makes it possible to build a naval vessel on a foreign shipyard under a merchant flag.
Niestern Sander took on the project despite many technical and organizational challenges. Subsequently, according to the preliminary contract, more than half a year study followed to qualify the many additional requirements. The project proved to be technically very comprehensive. The engineering was difficult and the problems were complex. The ship, which was to serve as a platform for more than a hundred people on board, had to be equipped with hundreds of different satellite foundations, high-quality receivers and transmitting equipment and instruments that belonged to very secret assignments. A future high-tech space was provided with a floor on vibration dampers. In short: there were many challenges.
The vessel has a double propeller design with two separated engine rooms. This double propulsion enables a speed up to 16 knots. Also, the vessel can sail quietly with one propeller. The hull of the vessel has been optimized for a stable sea-keeping behavior. On the aft ship a dedicated control room was constructed. Accommodation for crew and research-staff for over 100 persons, is divided over four decks. The HVAC installation was The ship will be designed and equipped in such a way that it can perform independently at sea during a long period. For this, the vessel has been equipped a.o. with a huge galley, hospital including operation facilities and a bakery.
In December 2004 the prestigious ship was delivered.