Here we describe the first version of the Minnesota Earth System Model for Ocean biogeochemistry (MESMO 1.0), an intermediate complexity model based on the Grid ENabled Integrated Earth system model (GENIE-1). As with GENIE-1, MESMO has a 3D dynamical ocean, energy-moisture balance atmosphere, dynamic and thermodynamic sea ice, and marine biogeochemistry. Main development goals of MESMO were to: (1) bring oceanic uptake of anthropogenic transient tracers within data constraints; (2) increase vertical resolution in the upper ocean to better represent near-surface biogeochemical processes; (3) calibrate the deep ocean ventilation with observed abundance of radiocarbon. We achieved all these goals through a combination of objective model optimization and subjective targeted tuning. An important new feature in MESMO that dramatically improved the uptake of CFC-11 and anthropogenic carbon is the depth dependent vertical diffusivity in the ocean, which is spatially uniform in GENIE-1. In MESMO, biological production occurs in the top two layers above the compensation depth of 100 m and is modified by additional parameters, for example, diagnosed mixed layer depth. In contrast, production in GENIE-1 occurs in a single layer with thickness of 175 m. These improvements make MESMO a well-calibrated model of intermediate complexity suitable for investigations of the global marine carbon cycle requiring long integration time.