32,000 miles across the sea – RV Tom Crean celebrates first year of service

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RV Tom Crean Arrives in Galway

The RV Tom Crean recently celebrated its one year anniversary of arriving in Galway, with the marine research vessel already racking up some impressive milestones.

Since being delivered to the Marine Institute in July of 2022, the state of the art RV Tom Crean has completed 296 survey days at sea, bringing 177 scientists on 20 voyages.

Those trips have seen the ship travel a total of 32,215 nautical miles, equivalent to circling Ireland approximately 46 times.

Over the past 12 months, INFOMAR, Ireland’s national seabed mapping program, successfully conducted 5 surveys, mapping a total area of 6,317 square kilometres – an area larger than County Galway. 

This comprehensive mapping effort will greatly contribute to our understanding of Ireland’s seabed and its valuable resources.

Additionally, the vessel conducted 4 Nephrops Underwater TV Surveys, gathering stock assessment data from 539 stations across the Porcupine Bank, Aran Grounds, Celtic Sea, and Bay of Biscay. 

Commenting on the first anniversary of the vessel, Marine Institute Interim CEO Michael Gillooly said, “With its state-of-the-art capabilities and the dedication of its skilled crew and scientists, we eagerly await the vessel’s next chapter, brimming with exciting accomplishments and ground breaking discoveries.”

“The RV Tom Crean has proven itself as an invaluable asset to Ireland’s scientific community, and we eagerly look forward to the remarkable achievements yet to come.”

Plans for the €25 million RV Tom Crean were first announced in February of 2018, with funding secured by the Marine Institute in the budget for the following year.

The 50 metre long vessel was designed to replace the older Celtic Voyager, which was by then more than 20 years old. It works alongside its sister ship, the RV Celtic Explorer.

The RV Tom Crean was designed by Norwegian ship design consultants Skipsteknisk AS, and built at the Astilleros Armon Vigo S.A shipyard in Spain. 

The ship is named for the renowned seaman and explorer from Kerry who undertook three ground-breaking expeditions to the Antarctic in the early years of the 20th Century.

Along with being an essential aid for marine scientists, the RV Tom Crean is also a valuable training platform for students from institutions across Ireland, providing 236 students with a unique learning experience over the course of 50 days throughout the year.