Research Vessel Belgica An oceanographic research ship and service provider

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New RV Belgica

RV Belgica, the new 71-meter-long research vessel, is ready to play a key role in Belgian and European marine research in the coming decades.

The new RV Belgica sets of on expeditions to ensure continuity in the support of marine sciences and guarantee compliance with our country’s national and international obligations. In this way, the ship takes over the important role of her predecessor RV A962 Belgica (launched in 1984 and received a second life as an Ukrainian research vessel since September, 2021) to monitor the state of Belgian and surrounding marine waters (water quality, marine life, environmental impact of human activities, e.g. wind farms, sand extraction, etc.).

The international dimension of science will further be highlighted in RV Belgica’s agenda through, for example, European funded programs (such as the Eurofleets network which gives European researchers access to a broad range of European and international marine infrastructures for marine research). Additionally, private chartering and assignments for other end users will be possible as well.

The RV Belgica will set off from Zeebrugge on multi-day and multi-week campaigns for up to three hundred days a year. The operating area includes the North Sea, the Northeast Atlantic Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea, with an Ice class for summer operations in arctic areas and a 30 day autonomy.

The RV Belgica monitors the quality of the North Sea by constantly collecting all kinds of data about the biological, chemical, physical, geological and hydrodynamic processes which occur (monitoring). Scientists take samples of water, soil and living organisms. They test new fishing techniques, investigate the influence of sand extraction on the seabed and study the effect of wind farms on sea life. New capabilities of this vessel are mapping and analyses of the full water column (incl. fauna), sea floor and subsurface up to 5000 m water depth besides being a platform for the use of existing large European Marine Research Infrastructures, such as Autonomous Underway Vehicles (AUVs), Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs), Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), seismic systems, sediment coring and rock drill devices.

As modern research vessel, RV Belgica remains at the forefront of sea-related science and technology and also meets the needs formulated by ERVO & the European Marine Board (EMB_Factsheet_PP25_Research_Vessels.pdf ) to help ensure that Belgium & Europe can remain world leaders in marine science and exploration.

We wish her a productive journey!

RV Belgica Campaign schedules

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