NOVEMBER 7, 2018 — Belgium has ordered a new EUR 58 million (about $67 million) research vessel at Spain's Freire Shipyard that will replace the aging RV Belgica.
When the new vessel is delivered by the shipbuilder in 2020, Belgica will have been in service for 36 years. The new vessel will be 70 m long, 20 meters longer than the Belgica, and will be able to carry 28 scientists.
Freire Shipyard has awarded Rolls-Royce a contract to design the ship and supply key equipment and systems.
The IMO polar code compliant vessel will be built to UT 844 WP design and Rolls-Royce will also deliver the main propulsion system, including side thrusters, Promas integrated propulsion and maneuvering system, power electric system and steering gear. A key part of the systems delivery is also automation and control systems such as the propulsion control system, Unified Bridge and dynamic positioning (DP).
The research vessel will cater for the requirements of the Belgian marine scientific community when performing advanced marine research and education at sea – today and in the coming years. This will include research within the fields of geology and sedimentology, fisheries, biology, chemistry, oceanography (including meteorology). In addition, the vessel will be part of hydrographic campaigns.
Asbjørn Skaro, Rolls-Royce, Director Digital & Systems - Marine, said: "Three European countries have now chosen Rolls-Royce as a supplier of design and technology to their new research vessels; Belgium, Norway and the UK. These are all advanced, high-tech vessels that will carry out fundamental research at sea and below the seabed. We are of course honored to be part of such great tasks."
The research vessel will owned by the Belgian State, represented by the Federal Science Policy Office (BELSPO). Operational management will be the responsibility of the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences (RBINS), which will work closely with the Ministry of Defense, which placed the order for the vessel.