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Armstrong Marine delivers catamaran research vessel to Orca Maritime


Armstrong Marine USA, Port Angeles, Washington, has delivered a new 42 foot by the 16-foot catamaran research vessel, Benthic Cat, to Orca Maritime, Inc., Imperial Beach, Calif., after a successful launch and sea trials in Port Angeles Harbor.


Armstrong Marine delivers catamaran research vessel to Orca Maritime 925 001 R/V Benthic Cat (Picture source: Armstrong Marine)


Orca Maritime selected the design after Armstrong delivered the same 4216-CTC model to UC San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography (R/V Bob and Betty Beyster) in 2019.

Orca Maritime will utilize the workboat in support of Department of Defense initiatives, environmental agencies, the energy sector, and commercial enterprises. Vessel operations will include the launch and recovery of autonomous underwater vehicles (AUV), underwater gliders, surface and underwater sensors, remotely operated vehicles (ROV), and unmanned surface vehicles (USV). Benthic Cat will also support surface-supplied/SCUBA diving operations and provide onboard data processing.


Armstrong Marine delivers catamaran research vessel to Orca Maritime 925 002 R/V Benthic Cat (Picture source: Armstrong Marine)


The catamaran features a full-width cabin with flybridge, large aft working deck, hydraulic A-frame (5,000 lb SWL), Northern Lights 9 kW diesel generator, and Garmin/NMEA electronics package.

Benthic Cat is powered by twin Volvo D11 510 hp inboards paired with Volvo IPS 650 propulsors and Volvo electric steering. Builder’s sea trials indicated 32 mph cruise and 37 mph top speeds.

The dynamic positioning system integrates GPS navigation data with propulsion controls to automatically maintain heading and position. Joystick controls at the aft docking station and flybridge station ease handling.


Armstrong Marine delivers catamaran research vessel to Orca Maritime 925 003R/V Benthic Cat (Picture source: Armstrong Marine)


Deck equipment includes an A-frame with Pullmaster PL5 hydraulic winch, a Morgan Marine 200.3 crane, Kinematics hydraulic anchor winch and 5” aft deck horizontal capstan, and 28 tie-down points for securing equipment. Rigid LED floodlights illuminate the aft deck.

Inside, three Bentley Patriot seats are provided for captain and crew. Benches with a flip-down tabletop provide additional seating and storage. Two Red Dot hydronic heaters and two Dometic AC units keep the cabin comfortable for year-round operations.

Benthic Cat will enter service immediately, beginning with a week-long operation around San Clemente Island.