A Western Australian shipbuilding company has been contracted to construct a new research vessel for the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS). The new vessel will be named RV Cape Ferguson after the site of AIMS` Marine Operations headquarters.
RV Cape Ferguson will cost $3.45 million and it is expected to have a life of about 25 years. Construction will start immediately and will take about seven months.
The new vessel will be extremely versatile and have many of the same characteristics of its predecessor, RV The Harry Messel, which will be decommissioned after 20 years of service to AIMS. However, it will have room for more scientists - up to 10 compared with six for the Messel - and its design takes into account latest marine technology so that it will be as up-to- date as possible. It will feature a bulbous bow that will make it more fuel efficient. Also, it will have sophisticated communications technology, high-tech onboard laboratory facilities and an oceanographic winch that will make it extremely useful for various forms of physical and chemical oceanography research. RV Cape Ferguson will be 23.9 metres long, compared with 20.7 metres for the Messel. AIMS researchers and research vessel crew were heavily involved in the development of the design of the new ship, and years of consultation had led to the development of an optimum plan.