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The Triton is a special-purpose boat built by H2X for a French organisation specialising in underwater archaeology.

In December 2016, DRASSM* took delivery of the Triton, its latest archaeological research vessel. In addition to its overall responsibility for France’s submerged cultural heritage, this Marseille-based organisation also carries out surveys, expert appraisals and underwater excavation projects throughout the Mediterranean and beyond.

DRASSM’s flagship, the André Malraux, has logged over 40,000nm and spent much of its time since 2012 in the Atlantic, the Channel and the North Sea. To continue its work in these waters as well as the Mediterranean, the organisation decided to order a second vessel, the Triton.


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© H2X

The Triton during propulsion testing (© H2X)


Like the 36m André Malraux, the Triton was built by iXBlue’s H2X yard at La Ciotat on France’s Mediterranean coast between Marseille and Toulon. Although smaller, the new boat is designed to carry out essentially the same missions. With its composite 14.5m hull, a beam of 4.1m and a loaded draft of 1m, the Triton requires a crew of just two. It can also host up to eight specialists, including divers and survey instrument operators and their equipment (sonars, magnetometers, etc.) along with a ROV and an AUV.

The Triton’s general layout has been optimised to provide a 20-sq-m aft deck with a 1-tonne load rating. The boat is equipped with a 750-kg aft crane, a 250-kg deck jib and a side jib to deploy an ultra-short baseline (USBL) acoustic transponder. Other features include a diving gear compressor and a generator set. The living area includes a mess, toilets and showers.


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© H2X

The Triton, showing the aft deck and crane (© H2X)


The Triton has a top speed of 22 knots and a range of 750nm at 12kts. She is powered by two 430-hp Cummins diesels driving waterjets and carries a dynamic positioning system. “Waterjet propulsion ensures optimal safety for divers and good performance at all speeds from dead slow to maximum,” says an H2X engineer, before adding “the Triton offers excellent stability and performance, making her ideal for a wide range of missions”.


164151 h2x triton drassm
© H2X

The Triton at full speed (© H2X)

* The DRASSM (Département des Recherches Archéologiques Subaquatiques et Sous-Marines) is a department of the French Ministry of Culture. Over the last 40 years, the DRASSM has identified thousands of wrecks and managed a multitude of archaeological research projects.

Translated and adapted by Steve Dyson

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