Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research
Royal Netherlands
Institute for Sea Research

RV Wim Wolff

15 November 2019
Final specifications
RV Wim Wolff, the replacement of RV Navicula, has been designed by Conoship.
30 April 2020
Start tender shipyard
A careful selection process is made to select the shipyard for the replacement of RV Navicula. The new vessel will be named after Wadden ecologist Wim Wolff, who played an instrumental role in international mudflat research.
26 January 2021
Contract signing
After a careful selection process, Thecla Bodewes Shipyards in the north of the Netherlands was chosen to construct the replacement of the RV Navicula. They will shortly begin with the construction process that will take about two years.
31 January 2021
Video RV Wim Wolff
Watch the video of RV Wim Wolff: " Taking science to the heart of the Wadden Sea" with Katja Philippart and other who talk about WIm Wolff, the importance of Wadden sea monitoring and why the new ships are essential for Wadden sea research.
February 2021
#1 The construction process
The construction of RV WIm Wolff will take 24 months from the signing of the contract and consists of several phases: Making the final design, Construction and Fitting out of the hull and finally commissioning and trial runs.
March 2021
#2 TB Shipyards
Thecla Bodewes Shipyards, consists of four shipyards in Stroobos, Kampen, Meppel and Harlingen with 120 employees. It is specialised in challenging construction projects and always aims to realise a design in a sustainable and innovative manner.
April 2021
#3 Project management
To ensure good communications and the smooth construction of the RV Wim Wolff, a project management team has been created with representatives from the client and the shipyard. This team will meet every two weeks, with additional technical meetings as necessary
01 June 2021
Sucessful modeltests
On Tuesday 1st of June and Wednesday 2nd of June occurred at MARIN premises in Wageningen the powering propulsion and resistance model tests using a real scale model of the RV Wim Wolff. These powering model tests are meant to verify the calculated needed power.
25 June 2021
#4 The hull builders
To accelerate the construction time, Thecla Bodewes Shipyards has decided to divide the construction of the hull in two sections by two different shipbuilders. KB Alubouw in Makkum will build part of the hull in collaboration with N. Dijkstra Metaalbewerking in Harlingen.
28 July 2021
#5 Model testing at Marin
Two model tests are planned for RV Wim Wolff: speed and sea behaviour. A different scale model is made for each type of test. The speed tests were carried out first, in June, in the towing tank at MARIN in Wageningen.
01 September 2021
#6 Ferry box
One major scientific innovation on board the RV Wim Wolff is the installation of a ‘ferry box’; an automated system for the continuous measurement, display and storage of various water parameters.
22 September 2021
#7 Sea handling tests
After the speed tests, the second series of model tests were intended to monitor the RV Wim Wolff’s sea handling. A specially designed 6-meter model of the vessel tested two different aspects of sea handling under the influence of wave force and direction.
21 October 2021
#8 Start hull construction
The contract signed by TBS stipulates that before work can begin on the hull, the client must give written approval for both the definitive, or ‘basic’ design and for the results of the drag tank tests conducted by MARIN.
09 November 2021
Festive keel laying
On 9 November 2021, the festive keel laying of the new national Wadden and Delta research vessel, RV Wim Wolff, took place at N. Dijkstra Metaalbewerking in Harlingen. Tradition has it that a coin is welded onto the keel beam 'for good luck'.
10 November 2021
#9 Hull contruction
The hull will be built in 6-meter sections that are welded together to form the finished vessel. It will be built in ‘reverse’ order: the bottom of each section will be assembled first, then the section will be rotated to finish the construction.
13 December 2021
#10 Keel laying ceremony
The keel of the RV Wim Wolff was laid at N. Dijkstra Metaalbewerking in Harlingen on 9 November. In her welcome greeting, Thecla Bodewes recalled the vital role Alex Colfino played in the contract negotiations and in supervising the construction of the RV Wim Wolff.
31 December 2021
#11 Joining sections
Due to the size of the RV Wim Wolff, the hull has been assembled in individual sections, which will be joined together at a centralised location. TBSY has contracted with three shipbuilders in the region for the construction of the various hull sections
31 January 2022
#12 Large building blocks
Three of the 20 sections were complete or nearing completion by late December, and since then another three have been completed and construction has begun on another three. All sections will be joined togehter at N.Dijkstra in Harlingen.
14 March 2022
#13 First ring sections
The sections will be joined together in two phases. During the first phase, the bottom sections (labelled ‘300’ sections) will be joined to the top sections (the ‘400’ sections) to form a ring structure.
14 April 2022
#14 Puzzle of pipelines
Before building the sections, all of the functionalities had to be added to the design and the final hull design approved of. This ‘puzzle’ work included deciding on the definitive positions of the tanks, bushings and pipelines inside the vessel.
17 May 2022
#15 A- and J-frames
The 3-D details of the main cranes (the A- and J-frame) have been finalised and exhaustively inspected for functionality and safety.
15 June 2022
#16 Maximum passage
The vessel will transit between the Wadden Sea and the waters of Zeeland via the coastal zone. During bad weather, an alternative inland waterway route is available with a maximum passage under bridges of 8.9 meters.
12 July 2022
#17 Hull construction
Almost all of the individual sections are now under construction, and the hull should be complete after the summer so that the vessel can be moved to the final construction location at TBSY.
10 August 2022
#18 Taking shape
The hull is beginning to take shape, and the completion diagram is gradually shifting from white (sections not yet under construction) to green (sections under construction and/or complete) and orange (sections joined to the hull.
21 September 2022
#19 Interior details
The work on the hull was interrupted due to the summer holidays in August. All of the interior details are currently under development, so that finishing work can begin as soon as the vessel arrives at the final assembly location.
12 October 2022
Nearing launch date
RV Wim Wolff is now almost too large for the production hall of Dijkstra Metaalbewerking. Section 220 is waiting outside to be joined to the hull when the vessel can be moved forward. The transport to TBSY elsewhere in Harlingen will take place in December.
17 October 2022
#20 Components puzzle
The vessel’s desired functionality is described in the design brief, and will be achieved by connecting a wide range of components together, varying from engines and deck cranes to seating, galley appliances and plumbing.
14 November 2022
#21 Fluid systems aboard
The puzzle for the builders is to integrate the fuel system, the drinking water system and the heating system within the hull, while making minimal use of the limited space aboard and keeping the weight as low as possible.
09 December 2022
#22 Hull moved outside
To make room in the production hall for the installation of the aft accommodations sections and for a new project, N. Dijkstra has moved the hull forward, so part of the forecastle extends outside the hall. The priority now is to finish the hull and install the pipelines.
06 January 2023
#23 Finishing work at Dijkstra
According to the schedule, the aluminium welding should have been completed in late December, and the hull was planned to be launched for transport to Hall 4 at TSBY in Harlingen before the start of the new year, but this was delayed until January 2023.
16 January 2023
First launch and transport
On 16 January 2023 the hull of RV Wim Wolff was launched for transport from Dijkstra Metaalbewerking to Thecla Bodewes Shipyards in Harlingen for the finishing phase.
15 February 2023
#24 Start work at TBSY
After transport to Thecla Bodewes Shipyards the final construction work on RV Wim Wolff has started. This includes finishing the hull, installation of pipelines and cables and application of insulation. After this the interior work will start.
13 March 2023
#25 Sub-contractors at work
Several sub-contractors will be working on the same cabins at the same time during the finishing phase. This will require TBSY to follow a clear and detailed schedule to guide the process within the time available.
26 March 2023
Impression construction
RV Wim Wolff at Thecla Bodewes Shipyards, final construction at the end of March 2023. This video gives a nice impression of how much work has to be done.
13 April 2023
#26 Cables and construction
The interior builder has begun installing the partition bulkheads on top of the noise- and vibration dampening layer. In the engine room, builders are laying out the piping systems and the auxiliary machines.
17 May 2023
#27 Finishing work
The RV Wim Wolff is nearing the end of its construction, and the progress is clearly visible on all three decks. Several sub-contractors are working on the same cabins at the same time during the finishing phase.
20 June 2023
#28 Completion
The vessel is beginning to fill up, and good coordination and collaboration between the subcontractors is vital in order to take full advantage of the available space. Most of the pipelines, cables and connections behind the bulkheads and overheads are now complete.
02 August 2023
#29 Last installments
Fenders have been installed all around the vessel to protect the ship's hull when working at sea and mooring in ports. The hull is protected by hard plastic fendering all around the vessel.
23 August 2023
#30 Attention to detail
Outside, the RV Wim Wolff has clearly taken its final form, both above and under the water line. The manufacturer has delivered the anchors and gear, and they are also waiting to be mounted aboard the vessel. Careful attention to detail is required to ensure the galvanic isolation of the winches.
10 September 2023
#31 Prepare for launch
The launch is important, because the systems can only be activated and tested in the water. But before that can happen, all of the work below the waterline must be complete, such as the fitting of the propulsion installation and sealing components against corrosion.
26 September 2023
Successful launch
On 26 September 2023 the RV WIm Wolff was launched successfully at Thecla Bodewes Shipyards in Harlingen and towed to Kampen for the fininshing works. Watch the timelaps here.
10 October 2023
#32 Moving to Kampen
Right after the launch on 26 September the vessel was towed to the TSBY shipyard in Kampen for the finishing work and delivery. Seeing the RV Wim Wolff floating in the water, rather than as a construction site, was a special moment for all involved.
13 November 2023
#33 Commissioning
With the finishing work underway, the yard has also begun preparations for the vessel’s commissioning. There are many aspects that must be checked and several parties are involved in this process.
13 December 2023
#34 Completion
The yard had been waiting on the delivery of the Heila deck crane and the installation of the ferry box, they have now been installed. Below deck the engine room is largely complete and the cabins and heads have been furnished and completed.
22 January 2024
#35 Into operation
Except for a few minor details, the RV Wim Wolff is now complete and a tour of the vessel gives a good impression of its future operations. The RV Wim Wolff has three working decks: the bridge deck, the main deck and the tank top. The most important element of the bridge deck is the wheelhouse.
11 February 2024
#36 Almost....
The complexity of the RV Wim Wolff is indicated by the large number of tests and approvals required: around 80. All tests are conducted according to special protocols. Extra inspections are sometimes needed, as with the propeller drive shafts. These inspections require the vessel to be put in drydock.
15 February 2024
Christening RV Wim Wolff
Thursday, February 15th, the RV Wim Wolff was christened in the harbor of the NIOZ on Texel. The christening was performed by Wim Wolffs five-year-old granddaughter Charly Wolff, assisted by Caroline Visser, board member of NWO, the Dutch Research Council.
21 March 2024
#37 Last tests and checks
After the christening on Texel, RV Wim Wolff returned to the yard in Kampen for the last checks and completion of a few systems by subcontractors, the last details mainly include sea trial observations by the classification society.
23 April 2024
#38 Before delivery
Before delivery three layers of requirements that the vessel must meet are: requirements stipulated by international agreements; additional requirements stipulated by the flag State; and requirements stipulated in the design specifications agreed upon in the contract.