Ferguson Shipbuilders (Scotland) have won the contract to build a fisheries research ship for the Ministry of Agriculture's fisheries and environment research agency, CEFAS. The new vessel will replace the ageing RV Cirolana. The research vessel's brief will cover areas of Fisheries Management, such as gathering data on fish stocks and assessment, Marine Environment Protection, including monitoring water quality and the safety of seafood, and research on fish biology and ocean circulation.
The seagoing research and monitoring activities of CEFAS scientists include fishing with specified gears, the deployment of specialised instruments such as plankton and environmental samplers to various depths, and on-board chemical, biological and radionuclide analyses. Specialised infrastructure facilities are fitted on board its research vessels such as scientific winches, precision navigation aids, IT facilities and launching platforms for the various instruments. The principal characteristics that differentiate these vessels from those in similar or related employment are their low underwater-radiated noise profiles, research facilities, special equipment, layout and installation.
The vessel will take about two years to build and will be delivered in spring 2003. The vessel's length overall will be 73m, its displacement a little over 3000 tonnes and it will carry a complement of 16 crew and 19 scientists. The value of this contract is around £23 million.