The Marine Institute has chosen Norwegian ship design consultants Skipsteknisk AS to design a new cutting edge marine research ship that will be based out of Galway.
When it’s ready the state of the art 50m long ship will serve as the sister ship to the Marine Institute’s RV Celtic Explorer.
Expected to hit the in 2022, the as yet unnamed research vessel will be able to operate in the harsh conditions of the North Atlantic for expeditions of up to three weeks.
It will also feature a centre to control a remote operated vehicle (ROV) that will enable researchers to explore depths of up to 3000m.
Dr Peter Heffernan, CEO of the Marine Institute said the new vessel marks a major milestone in the Institute’s commitment to providing world class marine science.
“The significantly enhanced capabilities of the new research vessel will help researchers, educators, students and the public gain a richer understanding of our ocean and will facilitate exploration that will lead to discoveries that stretch the bounds of our imagination.”
Based in Galway, the vessel will be used by the Marine Institute and other State agencies and universities to undertake ocean monitoring, assessing fish stocks, and furthering efforts to survey the seabed.
It is replacing the RV Celtic Voyager, brought into service in 1997 as Ireland’s first ever purpose built research ship.
Mick Gillooly, Director of Ocean Science and Information services at Marine Institute said that marine equipment has changed drastically since then, hence the need for the upgrade.
“The new vessel will enable us all to more efficiently explore, collaborate, and conduct global ocean research” added Dr Heffernan.
Once the design phase is complete, the next phase in this three-year project funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine, is to tender for a shipyard to construct the vessel.
This is expected to be complete by year end, with delivery of the new vessel expected early 2022.
Minister for the Marine Michael Creed welcomed the step forward saying, “There are many challenges posed and threats in relation to our oceans and research is an intrinsic part of formulating a sustainable approach to the use, understanding and management of our oceans.”