Since the early seventies there has been a cooperation between the Belgian Naval Forces and the predecessors of OD Nature (MUMM, etc.) to make marine science possible in Belgian waters. At that time, Belgian Naval Ships like the “Mechelen”, “Spa” and “Zenobe Gramme” were used as research vessels of opportunity. To allow further development of Belgian marine research, there was a need for a dedicated Belgian research vessel.
In 1979 the Belgian government decided to the build such a vessel, the RV A962 Belgica. The keel was laid on the 17th of October, 1983 in the “Boelwerf” in Temse. The ship was finalised and baptised by Queen Fabiola on the 5th of July 1984.
To organise the activities of the RV A962 Belgica a convention between the ministry of Defence and Science Policy was setup which has, besides some updates, endured more than 30 years and has led to a very successful cooperation. The Belgian Navy provides the crew, the operational support and a mooring in the home port of Zeebrugge whereas OD Nature takes responsibility for the ship's budget, the scientific instrumentation and the planning of scientific campaigns. We hope that this cooperation can be extended in the future with the building of a new RV Belgica II.