Something for all the shipping industry rev heads!

I know there are lots of people dying to know the specifications of Investigator’s engines!

RV Investigator's engines

Here’s the nitty gritty of the new Marine National Facility research vessel:

  • Diesel engine: M.A.K  9 M25C  [3 off ],  Inline 9 cylinder ; 4 stroke cycle ; operating on marine gas distillate oil [output power = 3,000 kw].
  • Exhaust Gas Turbocharger KBB  – HPR 6,000
  • Max speed 34,600 rpm
  • Plain bearing type, with forced lubrication from the engine lube oil sump and gear pump.
  • The rotor is driven by exhaust gas energy via turbine inlet housing & the turbine nozzle ring.
  • It is equipped with a single stage radial flow turbine and compressor.
  • The turbine has reaction blading arrangement, this being a set of fixed nozzle guide blades that direct the exhaust gas onto convergent rotor blades where the pressure drop occurs and  the exhaust gas turbine is driven by the reaction force.

To put it in simpler terms…

Investigator is powered by three diesel electric engines that generate around nine megawatts of power. The average Australian home uses about 18 kilowatt-hours per day, which means Investigator could power a small suburb or a country town!

What’s a giant soccer ball doing on top of Investigator?

RV Investigator's weather radar

Sure the top dome looks like a soccer ball, but in fact it’s a dual-polarisation C-band Doppler weather research radar!

A what?

Check out this animation and it’ll explain some of the awesome things about the radar on board Australia’s new marine National Facility research vessel, Investigator.

Transcript: Weather radar on RV Investigator



RV Investigator’s very cool container laboratories

The Marine National Facility has a number of container laboratories available for use on board RV Investigator:

HAZMAT locker
A specialised container for the bulk storage of toxic, corrosive and flammable chemicals. Substances that can be stored include concentrated acids (e.g. sulphuric acid, formaldehyde, formalin, ethanol and acetone.

Laboratory Clean Container
Specialised container for conducting trace metal work. It can be used for chemical and biological oceanography, atmospheric science and geosciences.

Radiation Laboratory
A specialised container for using of low level radioisotopes.

CTD storage container
Specialised clean container for the storage of the trace metal CTD rosette.

Coring storage facility container
A container to store all of the long and short sediment core equipment

It’s the coolest carry-on luggage ever!

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The arrival of RV Investigator has sparked so many questions!

With the arrival of RV Investigator into its home port of Hobart, there have been lots of questions about the ship and who will be able to use it.

Investigator is the new Marine National Facility (MNF) research vessel. The MNF is a blue-water research capability, funded by the Australian Government and managed by CSIRO on behalf of the nation. It comprises:

  • a blue-water research capability
  • a suite of scientific equipment and instrumentation
  • a collection of more than 25 years of marine data, and
  • the governance, expertise and systems required to manage blue-water research and support research vessel users.

The MNF is available to all Australian scientists and their international collaborators, with access granted on the basis of proposals that are internationally peer reviewed, and independently assessed for science quality and contribution to the national interest.

Applications for sea time are typically called two years in advance of a financial year voyage schedule. The process involves primary applications to set the voyage schedule followed by supplementary applications to make best use of the vessel.

Here’s a great image of the all of the voyages undertaken on board the previous Marine National Facility research vessel, Southern Surveyor.

It’ll be amazing to see where Investigator goes over the next decade!

Applying for sea time

RV Investigator’s delivery team!

Here’s a great photo of the team that delivered RV Investigator into its home port of Hobart.

RV Investigator delivery crew (image CSIRO/Max McGuire)


RV Investigator in the Derwent River!

Last week when the new Marine National Facility research vessel Investigator arrived into its home port of Hobart, some fabulous photos were snapped.

Here’s a great one by Chris McKay!

Investigator in the Derwent River (image Chris McKay/CSIRO)

Communiqué – Marine National Facility Steering Committee

RV Investigator aerial photo

Meeting #75: 3-4 September 2014

It has been a busy period for the Marine National Facility with the arrival of Investigator in Hobart on 9 September 2014, our new state‑of‑the‑art research vessel. This step change in Australian marine and atmospheric research capability will provide exciting new opportunities to our research community and act as a catalyst for international collaboration.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank and congratulate the Future Research Vessel Project, led by Toni Moate, for their work over the past 5 years in overseeing the construction and delivery of the vessel.

I would also like to thank Dr Dave Williams for attending the first day of the Steering Committee meeting. Dave was recently appointed as the Executive Director of the newly created CSIRO National Facilities and Collections which is now home to the MNF in CSIRO, and Dave’s attendance provided important insights into the new CSIRO structure and future opportunities associated with the operation of the MNF. We look forward to working with Dave as the future unfolds.

Investigator progress

Now that Investigator has arrived in Hobart the MNF will commence a period of scientific equipment installation followed by a series of sea trials over a 6 month period. These trials will provide the first opportunity to test the full range of scientific equipment on the vessel and develop safe work procedures, including sea trials in the Southern Ocean. Following sea trials the MNF can commence scientific voyages to further test the vessel in its warranty year.


With the delayed arrival of Investigator impacting forward voyage schedules and the associated backlog of voyage applications, it has been decided not to call for applications for sea time for 2016-17. Rather, Steering Committee has approved a three year voyage schedule for 2014-15, 2015-16 and 2016-17 which has been developed from the applications backlog. The MNF will now implement this schedule commencing with notification of successful applicants in the coming weeks, after possible schedule adjustments have been considered. The next call for primary applications is therefore planned to be made in July 2016 for the 2017-18 scheduling year.

In light of the above, Steering Committee has decided to call for Supplementary applications for both 2015‑16 and 2016-17 schedules simultaneously. This call will be made in the coming months and will offer the marine community additional opportunities on Investigator.

Once again, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the marine community for their patience, support and flexibility throughout this transition period. 

National Marine Science Committee (NMSC)

In March 2013 the national Oceans Policy Science Advisory Group (now called the National Marine Science Committee) launched the Marine Nation 2025: Marine Science to Support Australia’s Blue Economy. This paper provides a framework for national discussion around the grand challenges facing Australia in relation to our ocean estate, and how marine science can provide solutions that contribute to Australia’s future environmental, social, cultural and economic well being. In response to the recommendations of this report, a formal NMSC has been established to oversee the development and implementation of a 10-year national marine science plan through a White Paper process.

Steering Committee welcomes and supports the development of this plan which will help guide the prioritisation of nation benefit in the assessment of MNF research applications into the future. Furthermore the Steering Committee decided to include a new “Path to Impact” section in the MNF application form. As such, Steering Committee has sought opportunity to engage directly in the White Paper process through formal representation within the Infrastructure theme working group. Steering Committee also looks forward to participating in the National Marine Science symposium in Canberra and the subsequent development of the Plan as part of this process.

In conclusion

With excitement high around the arrival of Investigator, Steering Committee looks forward to working collaboratively with the Australian marine research community to optimise the use of our amazing new vessel.

Dr Ian Poiner, Chair


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