R/V Falkor is an 82.9 m (272 ft) LOA ship originally built in 1981 in Lübeck, Germany as a Fishery Protection Vessel.

The ship went through an extensive refit from 2009 to early 2012, converting the ship to an oceanographic research vessel. Cruising range and endurance are estimated at 8,000 nautical miles and 36 days of steaming (fuel-limited) at a cruising speed of 10 knots.  

R/V Falkor general arrangement is available for review in PDF format - 3.2MB

General Specifications:

Length Overall  82.90 meters
Length between perpendiculars  76.20 meters
Beam, overall  13.00 meters
Freeboard  2.28 meters
Draft (design)  4.80 meters
Draft (gondola)  5.80 meters
Depth (moulded)  6.67 meters
Displacement (weight)  2,260 m3
International Gross Tonnage  2,024 GRT
Net Tonnage  608 NRT
Fuel Capacity  105,150 US gals / 398 m3 / 330 MT
Fuel Consumption per day
at 10 kts 
2,900 US gals / 11 m3 / 9.1 MT (estimated) (1 engine, 1 shaft generator)
Galley Messing Seats  30
Maximum Speed  17 knots
Cruising Speed  10 to 12 knots
Survey Speed  8.0 knots
Range at 10 kts  8,000 nautical miles (estimated)
Endurance with 41 personnel aboard  36 days
Year Built / Year Converted  1981 / 2010-2012

Classification Society and Flag State:  
DNV-GL and Cayman Islands

Crew Compliment: 
23 ship's crew inclusive of marine technicians (total crew complement may vary depending on cruise requirements)

Science Berthing Accommodations: 
18 berths maximum.  However, the total available number of berths available for the science party is dependent upon the inclusion of an outreach coordinator and additional technical staffing required to operated ROVs, AUVs, workboats and 24-hour over-the-side operations.  

(2) MWN Diesel Engines each @ 3,944 hp / 2,941 kW (@ 750 rpm), driving two controllable pitch propellers

Bow Thruster: 
(1) Tunnel Thruster, 536 hp / 340 kW

Dynamic Positioning: 
EMRI Joystick / DP system with follow ROV mode for launch, deploy and following for distances up to 150 meters at 2 knots

(2) Becker Marine System flap rudders with linked operation (do not move independently of one anther) and operated at maximum +/- 35 degrees

(2) shaft generators at 650KVA / 500kW, 
(1) diesel generator at 650KVA / 500kW / 50Hz feeds an Atlas 100kVA converter to provide 480VAC 60Hz an Atlas 25kVA converter to provide clean power

R/V Falkor supports the following operations:

  • Over-the-Side Deployments
    • Deployments over the transom with a 88kN SWL A-Frame using the embedded single drum MacArtney MASH CTD Oceanographic Winch (Type 10000/8,2-31-RA)* or add-on mission-specific winches
      • MacArtney MASH CTD Oceanographic Winch has a 31kN max pull at the top layer and 53kN max pull at the bottom layer
    • Deployments over the side with a 31kN SWL J-Frame
    • Two articulating cranes provide at least 2 metric ton weight lifting coverage across all the Aft Decks (model HIAB Sea Crane 301-4 and HIAB Sea Crane 121-2)
    • Deployments of equipment and recovery of samples / instruments with Elevator / Lander Platforms
      • SOI owns and operates an Elevator / Lander Platform depth rated to 11,000 meters
  • CTD/Hydro Winch Operations
    • 9,100 m of 0.322” EM coax wire or 9,000 m 3/8” 3×19 mechanical trawl wire
    • A flag block that allows routing the cable to either J-Frame or A-Frame
  • Wet laboratory work in a 32 square meter Wet Lab on the Main Deck equipped with:
    • -80 C, -20 C, +4 C sample preservation equipment
    • Ducted fume hood
    • US electrical power outlets (all clean power, up to 100 kVA total)
      • 120 VAC 60 Hz
      • 208 VAC 60 Hz
    • European electrical outlets (unregulated plus up to 25 kVA clean power)
      • 240 VAC 50 Hz 230V
      • 400 VAC 50 Hz
    • Hot and cold fresh water at sinks
    • Uncontaminated and incubator sea water supply
    • De-ionized water 
    • Compressed air outlets
  • Dry laboratory work in the Dry Lab area on the Main Deck equipped with:
    • 28 square meter ROV / Sonar Control Room
    • 26 square meter Lab / Office Space
    • The combined Dry Lab area is equipped with:
      • US electrical power outlets (all clean power, up to 100 kVA total)
      • European electrical outlets (unregulated plus up to 25 kVA clean power)
      • Compressed air outlets
  • Aft Working Deck operations requiring:
    • Up to 500 kW of unregulated electrical power from a dedicated 3-phase, 50 Hz, 395 VAC generator
    • Additional equipment mounted to the Aft Deck and Staging Bay deck surfaces using a 2 foot x 2 foot bolt pattern
    • US electrical power outlets (100 kVA total)
    • European electrical outlets (unregulated plus up to 25 kVA clean power)
    • Hot and cold fresh water outlets
    • Incubator sea water outlets
    • Compressed air outlets
  • Deployments of light packages, profilers and ROV (SAAB Sea Eye Falcon) from the Starboard Launching Bay on the Main Deck
    • 17.7 square meters
    • Adjacent articulating knuckle boom crane (model HIAB 301-4) crane on the Winch Deck over the Starboard Launching Bay
  • Dynamic Positioning able to maintain position over a given location
  • Weather protected instrument Staging Bay (30 square meters) and workshop (8 square meters) adjacent to the aft deck


  • Mammal and bird observation using weather protected upper deck areas


  • Work boat operations
    • One 6.3 meter aluminum hull 350 HP jet-drive SAFE Boats workboat supported by a dedicated heave compensating launch davit.
    • One inflatable 4.6 meter 60 HP Zodiac inflatable boat


  • Outreach and operations requiring continuous global Internet access, provided via C-Band VSAT.
    • Bandwidth is flexible and can be made sufficient to support HD video streaming
Note: In mid-2016, Schmidt Ocean Institute expects to complete the development and testing of the first of three new remotely operated vehicles (ROVs).  We anticipate the first vehicle to be rated for 4500 m, however, the depth rating and research capabilities will be enhanced with the development and delivery of the subsequent two new ROVs that will take place in the following years.  We expect to develop the second ROV, a 7500 m hybrid remotely operated vehicle (HROV) by approximately mid-2017, and the full ocean depth rated HROV a year later.  We have posted a preliminary list of specifications for planning purposes, but please note these are subject to change


R/V Falkor Scientific Systems and Instrumentation:

  • Scientific Echosounders:
    • Deep water multi-beam echo sounder –  Kongsberg EM 302 1×1 degree
    • Shallow water multi-beam echo sounder – Kongsberg EM 710 0.5×1
    • R/V Falkor Multibeam Echosounder System Review is available for review at the UNOLS Multibeam Advisory Committee website
    • Single beam echo sounder - Kongsberg EA 600, 12/38/120/200 kHz
    • Fishery research system - Simrad EK60 , 18/38/70/120/200/710 kHz
    • Simrad SH90 high definition omnidirectional fishery sonar, 114 kHz
    • Sub-bottom profiling system - Knudsen CHIRP 3260, 12kHz
    • Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler -Teledyne Ocean Surveyor, 75 kHz
    • Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler -Teledyne Workhorse Mariner, 300 kHz
  • Subsea Acoustic Positioning System
    • Sonardyne Ranger 2 Ultra-Short Base Line acoustic positioning system (USBL)
    • Transceiver unit fits on a deployable through-hull pole via a 340mm opening gate valve
    • HPT 5000 transceiver with range rating to 5000m depth
    • 4 WSM6 beacons with depth rating to 6000m
  • CTD Rosette
    • 24 position SBE32 Carousel Water Sampler with 12-liter Niskin Bottles
    • CTD SBE 9 Plus CTD with dual C-T sensors
    • Benthos Altimeter PSA-916
    • Biospherical QSP-2350L PAR
    • SBE 43 Dissolved Oxygen
    • Wet Labs C-Star Transmissometer
    • Wet Labs ECO-FLNTU
    • Valeport Altimeter
  • Underway Water Characterization
    • Flow-through Thermosalinograph (SBE45)
    • Digital Oceanographic Thermometer  SBE 38 (mounted at seawater intake)
    • Wet Labs ECO-FLS
    • Valeport MiniSVS for Surface Sound Velocity
  • Aerial Observation Platform
    • eBlimp radio controlled, 13 feet length, 1000 m range, 20-minute endurance at 20 kts
    • Video downlink, video monitoring equipment,
  • Remotely Operated Vehicle
    • SAAB SeaEye Falcon, 300 m depth rating
    • High Definition camera
    • Single 5-function hydraulic manipulator arm
    • Hand winch spooled with 600 m of protected fiber tether
  • Magnetometer
    • Marine Magnetics SeaSPY2
    • Equipped with 300 m of cable,
    • depth rated to 1000 m
  • Elevator / Lander Platform
    • A platform depth rated to 11,000 m (not stored on the ship)
  • High Performance Cloud Computing System
    • Maximum CPU cores: 60
      • Max. cores per virtual machine: 12
    • Total RAM: 640GB
      • Max. RAM per virtual machine: 128GB
    • Total storage: 120TB (system architecture dependent)
    • Operating Systems: any required