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Launching of new research vessel Belgica for Belgian Navy at Freire shipyard in Spain


On 11th February 2020, the Oceanographic vessel “Belgica” was launched at Freire shipyard premises in Vigo. After more than 36 years of service, the Belgian Federal Government decided to build a new modern research vessel for the Belgian Navy.


Launching of new research vessel Belgica for Belgian navy at Freire shipyard in Spain 925 001 Launching ceremony of new research vessel Belgica for Belgian Navy. (Picture source Freire shipyard)


The new research vessel “Belgica” for the Belgian Navy is the result of an amazing project conducted through a collaboration between the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences (RBINS), the Ministry of Defence and the Belgian Science Policy Office (BELSPO). Freire shipyard was awarded the international tender for the building of this new state-of-the-art oceanographic research vessel in 2018 with the objective to provide support to the marine research community for the coming 30 years. The contract came into force in June 2018 and the delivery is scheduled by the end of 2020.

The Belgian Delegation that took part in the launching ceremony carried out in Vigo was headed by representatives of the three institutions: Ms. Patricia Supply, General Director a.i. for the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences (RBINS), Rear Admiral Yves Dupont, for the Ministry of Defence and Mr. Pierre Bruyere, Chairman a.i. of the board of directors, for the Belgian Science Policy Office (BELSPO).

This vessel is meant to replace the current RV Belgica after more than 36 years of service. This new vessel not only offers more space for scientists and for research but is also being built with the highest standards of energy consumption and noise emission in line with her green ship status.

She will be an advanced 71.4 m multidisciplinary research vessel fitted with equipment to operate in a variety of fields such as geology and sedimentology, fisheries, biology, chemistry, oceanography and hydrography; built with IMO polar code her mission will be to carry out research and survey tasks in the North Sea as well as in the Mediterranean and more northern areas.