World’s Quietest Ships Powered by MaK Engines


When the new ocean research vessel DONGFANGHONG 3 begins its deep-sea observations in 2017, it will do so very, very quietly—thanks to a solution developed by Caterpillar’s Application Engineering team based in Kiel, Germany, and Cat® dealer MaK Asia.

Currently under construction at Jiangnan Shipyard in Shanghai, China, DONGFANGHONG 3 will be used by the Ocean University of China for a variety of oceanographic research—everything from exploring subsea volcanoes, to investigating hydrographic and geological formations, to operating ROVs (remotely operated vehicles).

These efforts require as little noise, vibration and water disturbance as possible to ensure accurate scientific measurements. For that reason, the new vessel must comply with the world’s strictest underwater noise limitations, known as DNV GL Silent-R.

Ocean University of China considered several brands of engines to power DONGFANGHONG 3, ultimately selecting two MaKTM 9 M 25 C and one MaK 6 M 20 C generator sets with a unique double-resilient mounting solution design.

For engineers, architects, builders, and owners of ocean-going and commercial marine vessels worldwide, the MaK brand is a premium engine that marries outstanding reliability, performance, and customer support for superior life cycle value.

“DNV GL Silent-R covers underwater noise levels and structure-borne noise levels for all equipment on board,” says Stephan Kroening, a noise and vibration specialist with Caterpillar Marine. “Using our double-resilient mountings, a two-layer system, isolates our machinery from the engine room floor at its best.”

It’s a solution that will allow DONGFANGHONG 3 to run in almost total silence—and it’s the result of a true team effort. Engineers from Caterpillar Marine in Kiel, Germany, joined forces with representatives from Caterpillar Marine Trading (Shanghai) Co., Ltd. (called MaK Asia) to develop, propose and ultimately convince the customer to choose the double-resilient mounting solution.

The MaK gen sets will be delivered to the shipyard in late 2016, with the vessel scheduled for completion the following year. When it takes to the seas, DONGFANGHONG 3 will be the first vessel built in China with DNV GL Silent-R certification.

It won’t, however, be the first MaK-powered ship to meet those stringent requirements. Both the Australian research vessel RV INVESTIGATOR and the Norwegian fishery and oceanographic research ship Dr. Friedtjof Nansen also feature MaK generator sets with a similar double-resilient mounting design.

Thanks to a special mounting design that isolates its MaKTM generator sets from the engine room floor, Chinese ocean research vessel DONGFANGHONG 3 will conduct its explorations in almost total silence.

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M 25 C

M 25 C diesel generator sets are known for their ease of installation and maintenance, reliable operation and excellent component accessibility.

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