Investigator makes light of heavy weather!

RV Investigator - scientific sea trials


Over the last few weeks companies supplying scientific equipment for the Marine National Facility research vessel Investigator, have been testing and calibrating gear and preparing the ship for research voyages in 2015.

The Director of the Marine National Facility Ron Plaschke said the trial voyages departed Hobart on 27 October and 1 November and on both occasions the weather turned for the worse with rain, hail, 50 knot wind gusts (Beaufort Scale 8) and seas of up to seven metres.

“The on board stabilisation system using internal anti-roll tanks works very well, and we were impressed with the way in which the ship handled in the rough weather,” said Mr Plaschke. Vendors from around the world and across Australia have been flying into Hobart for the sea trials, and some of the equipment being testing includes:

  • Sonar:
    • to map the sea floor to any ocean depth, a capability not previously available to an Australian research ship
    • a sub-bottom profiler that maps the composition of the sea bed to 100 metres below the sea floor, which will be used for resource research
    • fish finding sonar that operates to 3,000 metres, which will be used to study commercial fish populations
  • TRIAXUS – is towed behind the ship to collect data on phytoplankton, which indicates ocean health and productivity
  • Gravity meter – is able to detect changes in the substrate of the sea bed and can be used for geological structure and resource research
  • Trawling – the ship will be able to trawl to depths of 4,000 metres, a capability Australia has not previously had available, which we believe will lead to the discovery of species new to science
  • Coring of the seafloor – in shallow water and deep water (up to 8,000 metres of water)

“It’s exciting to head out to sea and test all of these capabilities and to start the process of training the crew and the support staff in how to operate the huge variety of scientific equipment on the ship” said Mr Plaschke.

From now until early December, Investigator will be in and out of Hobart on voyages that will give scientists and crew time to develop safe work practices and procedures, particularly for deploying equipment from the main deck.

Under direction of an independent Steering Committee, the Marine National Facility is owned and operated by CSIRO on behalf of the nation.

The Welcome to Port Celebrations for RV Investigator will be held on the CSIRO Wharf at Battery Point on Friday 12 December 2014, which will mark the official handover of the ship from CSIRO to the Marine National Facility, for operation.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


The first data from the TRIAXUS is collected on a trial voyage!

Oceanographers seek to understand the dynamics of the ocean and observe changes across seasons and over decades, to better understand weather, climate and how changes impact fisheries, offshore infrastructure and coastal developments.

The TRIAXUS system is a towed undulating CTD system which can collect data up to three kilometres behind the ship, and to depths of 350 metres, in an undisturbed environment. It carries electronic sensors that measure conductivity (salinity), temperature, oxygen, light levels, the wavelengths involved in photosynthesis, turbidity, and the quantity of phytoplankton.

On the recent trial voyage, the first TRIAXUS data was collected off northern Maria Island, on the east coast of Tasmania, and out and over the continental shelf.

The data shows the complex structure of a wisp of warm East Australian Current surrounded by cooler water.

Check out the very cool photos and data!


Look who’s back in town!

This afternoon Investigator arrived back at the CSIRO Wharf in Hobart from its first trial voyage, which has allowed the crew and scientific support staff to test equipment and develop safe working procedures on board.

The new Marine National Facility research vessel Investigator will be in port for the next few days.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Heading out for the first trial voyage on board Investigator

Over the next few weeks Investigator will be heading out to sea for a few days at a time, to allow the crew and scientific support staff to test equipment and develop safe working procedures on board.

The biological oceanographic equipment the team will be working with on this voyage includes:

  • the continuous plankton recorder (CPR)
  • CTD (remember this stands for Conductivity, Temperature and Depth)
  • EZ net, which has ten separate nets that can be opened at a different depth to collect plankton
  • Bongo net
  • Rectangular mid-water trawl net

Collecting samples with nets allows scientists to monitor the health of the ocean and what lives in it, from plankton and invertebrates, to larger fish.

Investigator departed earlier this week and will return to Hobart on 17 November.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Great looking ship!

Max McGuire from the Marine National Facility’s Ships Group has been out taking some gorgeous photos of  RV Investigator in port.

Check out the images!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Investigator back in port for a few hours

The new Marine National Facility research vessel, Investigator popped back into port in Hobart on the weekend, to drop off vendors from the first scientific sea trial.

As the ship came into port, Mike Jackson, the MNF’s Project Manager, snapped the ship as the weather started to clear.

Just a few hours later the ship headed back out to sea with a new group of vendors and scientific support staff, who will be testing and calibrating more equipment.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

How much does Investigator weigh?

The new Marine National Facility research vessel Investigator seems really big, but how much does it weigh?

Turns out it’s a lot!!

RV Investigator

There are a couple of key weights we need to measure:

Lightship Displacement – 4343 tonnes
This is the amount of sea water the ship displaces without anything on board, like  fuel, water, stores, people, non-permanent scientific equipment. In simple terms, this is what the empty ship would weigh if you put it on a set of scales.

Deadweight – 1550 tonnes 
This is the total amount weight that can be carried on the ship, including fuel, water, stores, people, non-permanent scientific equipment etc.

Maximum Displacement – 5893 tonnes (the sum of the two weights above)
This is the maximum weight the ship is allowed to be, for stability and safety reasons.

The other common weight you may see is Gross Tonnage (GT ) –  6082 tonnes.  This is a volumetric measurement in cubic metres of all internal  spaces within the ship and is used for registration and revenue purposes, in particular port related charges.  This was known as Gross Registered Tonnage (GRT).

At lightship displacement the ship’s draft is 5.1 metres and at maximum displacement the draft is 6.2 metres. The draft is measured from the deepest part of the keel (bottom) of the ship and the gondola sits 1.2 metres below the keel.



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 701 other followers