Spanish shipyard to build research ship for Galway’s Marine Institute


Galway’s Marine Institute has announced that Spanish shipyard Astilleros Armon Vigo S.A. has been chosen to build their new state of the art marine research ship.

The 52m long research ship was designed by the Norwegian company Skipsteknisk AS to replace the ageing RV Celtic Voyager, and will be a sister ship to Ireland’s larger research vessel, the 65 metre RV Celtic Explorer.

With the construction contract signed its expected that the ship will be completed some time in 2022.

The new research ship will have a wide variety of duties, from maintaining and deploying Ireland’s Marine Data Buoy Network which supports Met Éireann’s daily weather forecasts, to helping conserve fish stocks and studying climate change’s impact on our  oceans.

The new research vessel will be a modern, multipurpose, silent vessel, capable of operating in the rough seas of the Irish Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

It will be designed to incorporate the latest proven technologies to ensure that it operates as efficiently as possible, ensuring minimal fuel consumption and minimising the vessels environmental impact and carbon footprint.

Dr Paul Connolly, CEO of the Marine Institute welcomed the signing of the research vessel build contract, stating that is is an “incredibly exciting” moment.

“The new national research vessel will allow Ireland to make a major leap forward in our understanding of the Atlantic,” he said.

“As we enter the UN Decade of the Ocean it will ensure that Ireland continues to build our ocean knowledge and enhance our scientific understanding.”

“This knowledge is essential if we are to sustainably manage our oceans and empower Ireland and its people to safeguard and harness our ocean wealth.”

Based in Galway, the vessel will be used by the Marine Institute, other State agencies and Third Level Institutes to undertake fisheries, plankton, oceanographic and environmental research and surveys, as well as student training.

It will also be used to continue ongoing efforts in seabed mapping, and allow transatlantic surveys with international partners through AORA (Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance).

The new research vessel will be built at Armon’s shipyard facility in Vigo, Spain. The Spanish ship building company Armon, have a reputation as a builder of highly advanced vessels, with more than 900 ships built and in service throughout the world’s oceans.

The yard recently built the RV Svea, a 70 metre research vessel delivered to the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.

Mick Gillooly, Director of Ocean Science and Information services, Marine Institute highlighted that the nature of marine equipment has changed significantly since the launch of Ireland’s first research vessel, the RV Celtic Voyager back in 1997.

“This new research vessel will be one of the most advanced marine research vessels in the world,” he said.

“It will provide scientists with state-of-the-art facilities and technologies to undertake crucial research that will deepen our understanding of the oceans.”

The new research vessel will be 52 metres long and will be engineered to endure harsh conditions and the punishing weather encountered in the North-East Atlantic and will be able to spend 21 days at sea.

It will also support the remotely operated vehicle (ROV) and autonomous underwater vehicle operations, which enable the exploration of our deep ocean down to 3,000 metres.”