The launch of CSIRO’s latest marine research vessel has edged closer with news of additional funding for sea trials and the announcement of operational contracting arrangements for the new boat.
While Research Vessel (RV) Investigator remains under construction in Singapore’s Sembawang Shipyard, developments closer to home have brought the highly anticipated research vessel into closer view.
As part of the May Budget, the Federal Government announced funding of $12.1 million for CSIRO to conduct sea trials for the new boat, in addition to the $120 million already spent commissioning Investigator four years earlier.
Less than a fortnight later, CSIRO announced that Melbourne-based company ASP Ship Management Australia had won the contract to manage the operation of Investigator, including the provision of crew and technical management services.
A spokesperson for the company confirmed that ASP staff would be involved in a substantial period of training and commissioning – including the conduct of sea trials – following delivery of the boat from Singapore later this year.
Staff Association Secretary Sam Popovski welcomed the additional spending for the sea trials but warned that further provisions would need to be made to get the most out of Investigator.
“The vessel will require future budget measures for sea operations to fully realise her innovation potential, including ongoing funding for additional research and support jobs.”
“And the potential is significant, this is state-of-the-art scientific infrastructure. Investigator will be world-class and she deserves world-class certainty when it comes her ongoing operations,” Mr Popovski said.
Measuring almost 94 metres in length, Investigator will carry of crew of 19, be able to accommodate up to 40 scientists, go to sea for up to 60 days at a time and spend up to 300 days of the year at sea on research voyages, with a range of up to 10,000 nautical miles.
She replaces RV Southern Surveyor, who after more than forty years service to Australian and international scientific research, will be decommissioned in the coming year.
For more information, check out the excellent Investigator@CSIRO blog for all the latest news on the boat.