In April the Executive Director of the Future Research Vessel Project, Toni Moate visited the Sembawang Shipyard in Singapore, to inspect the construction work.
All of these photos were taken by Ben Rae the Project Support Officer for the Future Research Vessel Project.
The keel laying ceremony is only weeks away, so we’ll have more great photos for you then!
Students and scientists: In the past six years alone, 757 scientists and 123 students have used the Marine National Facility.
CSIRO oceanographers left Brisbane on Friday for a 10-day, $2 million research voyage they believe will generate the most complete profile yet of one of Australia’s most influential environmental features, the East Australian Current.
Working from the CSIRO Marine National Facility research vessel, Southern Surveyor, the scientists will deploy five deep water moorings across the current, extending 240 kilometres east of Brisbane to gain specific insights into the characteristics of the largest ocean current in the Australian region.
Principal investigators for the voyage are Hobart-based scientists, Ken Ridgway and Dr Bernadette Sloyan, specialists in currents in the Australian region with CSIRO’s Wealth from Oceans Flagship.
Dr Sloyan said the East Australian Current impacts our climate and east coast ocean conditions, and so understanding its physical and chemical characteristics as recorded through the mooring network will be important for future natural resource management.
The mooring network is the latest addition to the Australian Government funded Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS), which has a strong focus on how offshore conditions influence our coasts via the major boundary currents like the East Australian Current.
Dr Sloyan said IMOS has provided $2m in funding to support this mooring network, which will complement existing IMOS observations being taken off the Great Barrier Reef, the New South Wales coast, and the east coast of Tasmania.
“With this final piece of the jigsaw in place we now have the ability to accurately measure transfer of water, heat and salt from the tropics to the Tasman Sea, to see how it is changing over time, and to understand what these changes might mean for marine ecosystems and coastal populations along the eastern seaboard,” she said.
The moorings consist of sensors recording temperature, salinity, and velocity of the current, spanning the region from the continental margin to off-shore in water depths of nearly five kilometres.
Mr Ridgway said scientists have been studying the East Australian Current for perhaps 100 years, although for the first 60-70 years the focus was on the biology and how it may be influenced by the current.
“In the last 25 years real advances have been made in understanding the East Australian Current, its physical structure and seasonal changes, and more recently its influence on the biodiversity of the east coast.
“What we have also seen in that time is a strengthening of the winds in the Pacific that have intensified ocean circulation and are pushing the current around 350 kilometres further south in the Tasman Sea.
“This research voyage is a terrific opportunity to study the current, and to understand its wider influences on our natural marine resources and for many Australians living on the eastern seaboard its influence in their lifestyle,” Mr Ridgway said.
Southern Surveyor will return to Brisbane on April 29.
The EAC is the largest ocean current close to the coast of Australia. What scientists already know is that the East Australian Current:
- transports up to 30 million cubic metres per second, with a strong influence to 1,000 metres depth and 100 kilometres width.
- is strongest in summer, peaking in February, and weakest (by as much as half the flow) in winter, when its energy dissipates east of Tasmania.
- generates ocean eddies as broad as 200 kilometres across, rotating mainly anti-clockwise at up to four knots at the edge; these can be more than one kilometre deep and have a life of up to a year.
- frequently crosses onto the continental shelf and moves close inshore
- causes upwelling where it moves away from the coast at places like Cape Byron, Smoky Cape and Sugarloaf Point, drawing nutrient-rich water from a depth of 200 metres or more.
By comparison, the Leeuwin Current, originating off the north-west coast of Western Australia carries a fifth as much water, peaking in May-June.
More information: Craig Macaulay 03-62325219
As the new Marine National Facility vessel starts to take shape this year, we’ll be bringing you more and more images of the steel works and assembly.
Here are the latest graphics from the ship building team.
The coloured boxes on the bow and back deck of Investigator are science container laboratories. They’re kind of like the world’s biggest travel suitcases for scientists. The laboratories are built in shipping containers, so researchers can take all of their equipment and tools with them wherever they go. There’s room for 10 of these kinds of labs on board the new ship.
RV Investigator is a very clever ship!
Southern Surveyor can accommodate two container laboratories, and to give you an idea of what they look like, here’s the BGC Clean Laboratory container on the back deck of Southern Surveyor as well as inside the container.
Meteorology: Southern Surveyor measures solar and terrestrial radiation to determine ocean heating. Investigator will be able to collect this data nearly year round and in a wider scope of locations.
How long is RV Investigator? What kind of bow thruster will she have? How many engines will there be – one, four, ten?Posted: April 16, 2012
I was wondering too!
These and many other details about Australia’s newest marine and atmospheric research vessel, can now be at your finger tips. We’ve created this brochure to give you an idea of where RV Investigator and the FRV Project are up to.
The brochure will be updated during the life of the project.
After successful sea trials, the Marine National Facility vessel Southern Surveyor will head off for her first research voyage for 2012, and she won’t be back in Hobart until early July.
Over the next week she’ll transit up the east coast and spend a day in port in Brisbane, before heading out with CSIRO’s Ken Ridgway and his team, to deploy floats and buoys along the East Australian Current. The voyage will leave Brisbane on 20 April and return to Brisbane on 30 April.
Then it’s over to Professor Richard Arculus from the Australian National University, who will be conducting magmatism, tectonics and hydrothermal activity research on the Marine National Facility vessel, near Fiji in early May.
If you want to keep track of Southern Surveyor this year, then check out the schedule for 2012/13 at: http://www.marine.csiro.au/nationalfacility/schedules/index.htm
Atmospheric Research: On Southern Surveyor ocean measurements indicate how much carbon is absorbed by Australia’s oceans. On Investigator, advanced atmospheric carbon dioxide measurements will complement the ocean research.
CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research Division held a symposium in Hobart to encourage collaboration and networking within the division.
The Marine National Facility and the Future Research Vessel Project thought it a perfect opportunity to start discussions among scientists about what will be possible on board RV Investigator.
While collaborations have been possible onboard Southern Surveyor, it’s always been fairly limited as there are only 14 scientific berths. This will change with Investigator, which will have up to 40 scientific berths. This new era in marine and atmospheric scientific research will open up new opportunities for scientists across different disciplines to work together on the same voyage.
We have an amazing team of specialists assembled for the Future Research Vessel Project and you should meet some of them. This is Dr Lindsay Pender.
Lindsay Pender started his research career in Canada looking at the electrical properties of polymers, before returning to Australia as a research fellow at the Australian National University, where he looked into how high energy ions can affect solid films. After he joined CSIRO in 1985 to work on the Bunyip-Marine research project, Lindsay progressively became more involved with ocean physics and modelling.
Lindsay now works in Hobart within Marine and Atmospheric Research. Initially he worked on the development of our SeaSoar research tool that gathered horizontal profiles from the depths of the Southern Ocean. Lindsay says the SeaSoar is by far his favourite research gadget, having been used for 23 years before sadly being lost at sea.
‘The information that came back from it was always amazing, it really showed you how dynamic the ocean can be’, Lindsay said.
The information gained from the SeaSoar project has helped to better understand the dynamics of ocean ecosystems and improve fisheries management.
Lindsay’s current role on the FRV Technical Team for the development of the new Marine National Facility vessel, RV Investigator, has him pinned as more of a jack of all trades.
He liaises with the ship’s designers and the scientists who will use the new ship, to ensure the IT specifications will be able to handle the data being relayed from the oceans’ depths.
‘I do get a buzz out of working with the various scientific communities. This work is much more diverse than I’ve had involvement with in the past, because I’m trying to understand the science they’re involved with and how best to extend the science on the new ship’, Lindsay explained.
Lindsay has been onboard Indonesian, French and North American research vessels observing the techniques used by other teams in what he describes as ‘opportunistic skill sharing voyages’.
‘I’ve spent a lot of time at sea, but I’m one of the lucky ones that don’t get severely sea sick’, he said.
Ironically, while Lindsay’s not at sea on the research vessel his hobby is… boat building.
The sheets of steel being used to construct Investigator come in different thickness for a variety of uses throughout the ship and approximately 1100 sheets will be needed to build the new Marine National Facility vessel.
Steel cutting and welding is underway in our very own RV Investigator shed. Here are some images from the official Strike Steel Ceremony at the Sembawang Shipyard.
You can see more images in an album on CSIRO’s Facebook pages.
Construction of Australia’s new $120 million Marine National Facility research vessel, Investigator, began in Singapore today, heralding a new era in marine and atmospheric research.
Australia’s ocean territory is the third largest in the world and includes unique biodiversity and valuable resources and marine science is critical for the sustainable management of ocean assets.
The Executive Director of the Future Research Vessel Project at CSIRO, Toni Moate, who attended the steel cutting ceremony in Singapore, said the 93.6 metre research vessel would be capable of conducting marine research from our coastal waters, to the Antarctic ice edge and to the tropical waters to the north.
The contract to design, build and commission the vessel was awarded to Teekay Holdings Australia, which partnered with the Sembawang Shipyard in Singapore because of its track record and strong commitment to new technologies and innovation.
“The equipment on board our new world-class vessel will for the first time allow Australian scientists to carry out advanced atmospheric research on board the Marine National Facility,” Ms Moate said.
“It will also be capable of mapping the seafloor six kilometres below the surface, conducting deep water coring to 24 metres and it will have the latest satellite communications technology.”
Investigator will be operated by CSIRO and will be available to all Australian marine scientists. It replaces the existing Marine National Facility ship, Southern Surveyor.
In 2009 the Australian Government committed AU$120 million to the purchase of a new research vessel for the Marine National Facility. The project is an initiative of the Australian Government being conducted as part of the Super Science Initiative and financed from the Education Investment Fund.
We’ve had a little quandary here at the Future Research Vessel Project when it comes to promoting the new ship. We can’t actually show you what the ship looks like in detail!
It’s all centred on the intellectual property rights associated with the design of the ship, during construction.
Think Ben Lexcen and the winged keel design of the ship Australia II in 1983, which became the first non-American yacht to win the America’s Cup in 132 years. It’s kind of like that; you know down to the waterline is okay!
So to increase awareness of the FRV Project and the expanded capabilities of Investigator, a limited number of LEGO® Investigators have been produced. One of the fabulous engineers at CSIRO spent a couple of weekends with his 10 year old son designing the LEGO ship for us. Thanks Mark and Finn!
These smart little ships will be given away through CSIRO Education, the Marine Discovery Network and to stakeholders over the next 12 months in various competitions and giveaways. We’ll keep you up to date about how you or your kids can win one.
Everyone loves a little LEGO®!
This is one of the latest images produced for the new ship. Isn’t she a little beauty!