For the past few months a small group within the Future Research Vessel Project has been working day and night behind closed doors, undertaking a thorough process to first short list, and then decide on the successful tender for Investigator’s Management Contract.
Operating ships is a complex business that requires a wide cross section of professional maritime skills and expertise in the areas of technical services, crew management and commercial and operational management. Specialist ship management companies provide these skills and expertise to the ship owner, which negates the need for the owners to have an in-house organisation to do this.
Ship Management companies generally provide management services to a number of clients and as such provide a pool of experienced people with a large support infrastructure, which can be shared by all client owners and therefore it is much more cost effective than maintaining a large organisation for the management of a single ship, as would be the case for the Marine National Facility.
We are pleased to announce the contract has been awarded to Melbourne-based ASP Ship Management.
To celebrate World Oceans Day we’re giving away a LEGO® Investigator. To enter subscribe to this blog by midnight Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST) on 8 June 2013.
Subscribers who’ve already signed up and anyone who subscribes by midnight on World Oceans Day 2013 will be in the running to win.
The winner will be announced on this blog on Tuesday 11 June 2013.
So get to it!
The scientific equipment onboard RV Investigator has been put into two groups. Group 1 are those items that will be fitted to the ship in Singapore and are part of the construction of the ship; such as, the gondola, drop keels and winches.
Group 2 is made up of items being purchased by the procurement team at CSIRO and this list includes things like the CTD frames, the long sediment corer and greenhouse gas spectrometers.
We’ve just taken delivery of 36 Niskin bottles that will be part of the 36 bottle CTD rosette.
It’s so exciting to see the new equipment starting to arrive in Hobart!
Each piece of scientific equipment has been championed by someone in Australia’s scientific community, in the case of the 36 bottle CTD rosette, it’s been Dave Terhell from CSIRO. Dave was there to receive and inspect the Niskin bottles with Ben Rae from the Future Research Vessel Project.
Here are some photos to show you some of the equipment and capabilities that will be used by fisheries researchers onboard RV Investigator.
There’s the net drum being manufactured in Norway, then you can see that it’s been installed on the ship and there’s a hatch where the net will be stowed.
A windlass is a device that is used to deploy and retrieve the anchor chain, with the anchor attached. On RV Investigator, the windlass deck, or mooring deck, is at the bow of the ship.
The ship has been designed to house the anchor within the external anchor pockets and the hawse pipes the anchor chain will travel through, extends from the external anchor pocket into the windlass or mooring deck.
All the machinery for the anchor is enclosed in the windlass deck. The anchor chains are stored in the chain locker just below the windlass. Spurling pipes carry the anchor chain from the windlass deck down into the chain locker.
The CTD instrument has long been a fundamental research tool for marine scientists. Besides its basic function to measure temperature and salinity in the ocean, it allows scientists to fit a wide variety of other instruments to measure other properties, including oxygen and other dissolved gases, phytoplankton and the quantity of biological matter, suspended particles and the depth that sunlight penetrates the ocean.
Do you remember block 206, the one with the big brown square that was lifted into place last year in November?
Well that’s the block that will house the CTD room onboard RV Investigator.
Some of the equipment that will deploy the CTDs onboard RV Investigator has now been installed.
The equipment that will allow Australian scientists to investigate our oceans onboard RV Investigator, keeps rolling in and being fitted to the ship.
One of the latest additions are the booms that will sit on the back deck, next to the A-frame.
Here’s a diagram to show you where they’ll be placed and some photos from the ship!
With all the blocks in place, we’re starting to get photos from inside the ship as work continues.
Here are some of the latest photos, showing everything from insulation being installed, to panelling being fitted and windows now in place!
The Marine National Facility Steering Committee has concluded its selection process for sea time onboard Investigator, for both the Commissioning Year September 2013 to August 2014 and for voyages from September 2014 to June 2015. Commissioning year and research voyages have been offered and accepted within the necessary constraints of the new vessel’s build schedule, commissioning schedule and future operating model.
Investigator’s new research schedules can be found on the MNF website. The 2014-2015 schedule voyage dates are currently subject to the supplementary applications process and will be confirmed later.
The Marine National Facility supports Australian researchers and their international collaborators in carrying out research in Australia’s regional seas and oceans, 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.
The MNF operates Australia’s only dedicated blue-water research vessel available to the marine science community, which is capable of operating in Australia’s vast ocean territories. Under the direction of an independent Steering Committee, the Marine National Facility is owned and operated by CSIRO on behalf of Australia.
If you think your fridge is huge, you’ve got to check out RV Investigator’s cold store room.
It’s recently had a cement floor laid and it looks fabulous!
We’ve started to kit-out Investigator, and the insanely bright orange workboat has arrived in the shipyard.
RV Investigator will have a two dedicated laboratories for atmospheric research, an aerosol laboratory located at the bow of the ship and an a air chemistry laboratory on the foredeck.
Air will be drawn into the laboratories via an aerosol sampling tube, which is inside the foremast and the inlet is about 24 metres above the sea surface.
To give you an idea of what’s being built, here are some drawings and a photo to help to explain.
The first diagram from the Draft General Arrangement, is a cross section indicating the location of the mast and laboratory.
This second image is a bird’s eye view of the laboratory beneath the deck level, with the dots indicating the tie down sockets.
And this is the actual laboratory under construction. You’re looking facing forward in the ship, the very tip of the bow, and the silver dots on the floor are the tie down sockets.
The Marine National Facility (MNF) supports Australian researchers and their international collaborators in carrying out research in Australia’s regional seas and oceans. Under direction of an independent Steering Committee, the MNF is owned and operated by CSIRO on behalf of the Australian Government.
Supplementary applications for sea time to utilise unused capacity on research voyages and transit voyages on Investigator during 2014-2015 are now being requested.
The MNF’s new, state of the art research facility is currently under construction. Following a commissioning year in 2013-2014, Investigator will be available for research in 2014-2015. Investigator is a highly advanced research vessel with a broad range of scientific equipment to support marine scientists in the following disciplines:
- oceanography and climatology
- fisheries and marine ecosystems
- marine environmental research
- marine geosciences
Supplementary application process
Supplementary applications are designed to utilise unused capacity on research and transit voyage and need to work within the constraints stated for those voyages or transits.
Supplementary call for applications for the financial Year 2014 2015 Australian marine researchers are invited to submit a supplementary application for use of Investigator during the period July 2014 to June 2015.
Area of Operations 2014 2015
The existing research and transit voyages will determine the geographic areas available for supplementary applications.
Closing Data for Applications
A supplementary application for sea time must be submitted by 12 midnight Eastern Standard Time, Thursday, 9 May 2013.
Further details on applying for use of Investigator and application forms are available through the MNF website: http://www.marine.csiro.au/nationalfacility/application/secondcall.htm
Some of the big questions about weather, climate, and the atmospheric conditions in remote areas of the world’s oceans will now be able to be answered following the purchase of a dual-polarisation weather research radar to sit atop Australia’s new research vessel Investigator.
Investigator is a 93.9 metre purpose-built ship research vessel currently under construction and due for delivery in late 2013 as the flagship of Australia’s Marine National Facility.
The Executive Director for the Future Research Vessel Project, Toni Moate, said the 1.75 tonne weather research radar will be installed on the highest point of Investigator and will be able to collect cloud and weather data anytime, anywhere in the world’s oceans.
“Data will be gathered from clouds towering 20 kilometres over the tropical ocean to cold ice storms in the Antarctic, in a 150 kilometre radius from the ship, and will have a broad range of research applications,” Ms Moate said.
The dual-polarisation weather radar is part of a new generation of weather technology that is being compared to the difference in television between black and white to colour technology. The greater detail provided by the state-of-the-art device will allow meteorologists to gather more information about the atmosphere than ever before, including clearly seeing the difference between rain and snow.
Australia’s scientific community has been advising on the fit out and design of Investigator since the inception of the project, providing recommendations on specialist equipment, like the weather radar, via a Technical Advisory Group.
Dr Peter May from the Bureau of Meteorology and the Centre for Australian Weather and Climate Research, together with his colleague Dr Alain Protat, are part of the Technical Advisory Group and it’s their expertise that has been central to the selection and installation of the weather research radar on the ship.
“With Investigator we will be able to source weather data from places we have previously not been able to access, such as the deep Southern, Indian, and Pacific Oceans,” said Dr May.
“This advanced radar will tell us not only how much it is raining but also the size of the drops, what mixtures of water and ice are present in the clouds, and what types of ice crystals are present.
“It will be a keystone for the study of cloud formations and contribute to improvements in numerical weather forecasting and climate prediction models over the vast areas of ocean surrounding Australia,” said Dr May
This kind of data is important to study cloud systems that represent key processes for weather and climate models. The high quality data collected from the radar will be an asset to the global weather and climate research community, from better understanding of tropical monsoons to polar cloud systems. There is a wide range of applications for the data that will be captured by this cutting edge technology.
The successful tenderer to supply the radar is Environmental Systems & Services (ES&S), which is an Australian advanced technology company specialising in solutions in environmental and allied fields such as meteorology.
The state-of-the-art research vessel Investigator will be owned and operated by CSIRO, which runs Australia’s Marine National Facility. It will replace the Facility’s 66 metre research vessel Southern Surveyor. All Australian scientists and their international collaborators can apply for time onboard the Facility to conduct marine and atmospheric research.
The Federal Government in 2009 committed A$120 million to the purchase of a new research vessel for Australia’s Marine National Facility. The project is an initiative of the Federal Government’s Super Science Initiative and financed from the Education Investment Fund.
After being carefully packed and sent to the shipyard, then stored onsite, the giant A-Frame has now been installed.
It’s great to see it going into place!