The new “Belgica II” research vessel was launched in Spain – At Vanguard
The new research ship Belgica II was launched in Spain.
In 2017, the government Charles Michel has decided to replace the Belgica scientific research vessel which was 36 years old and was in later life. Construction began in June 2018 and was assigned to the Spanish shipyard Freire Shipyard in Vigo and the naval architect Rolls-Royce Marine AS. The cost of this investment is 54 million euros. The name of the new ship was chosen after a competition. Of the 19 proposals, six were retained (Belgica II, Stella Maris, Belsora, Impact Lab Mare Odyssea). After the online voting of some 5000 people, 1600 of them opted for “Belgica II.” The new vessel was launched for the first time Tuesday, February 11 after 28 months of design and construction. Admiral Yves Dupont, head of the Systems Division DGMR represented Defense.
Compared to its predecessor, the “Belgica II” will be larger (about 70 m long 50 m compared to now) and more sophisticated allowing it to take samples to a depth of 5,000m. The laboratory space will double and will accommodate on board more scientific (28) (formerly the crew included 15 civilians and 15 military scientists). He will spend more time at sea (about 300 days a year against 200 days with the Belgica) and will have an autonomy of 30 days. It will also be very quiet for research in the field of fisheries. The North Sea will remain the main research area of the new vessel but it will stretch more than its predecessor. To the north, it will exceed the Arctic Circle where the slight strengthening of the hull against the ice. In the south, it will extend to the Mediterranean and the Black Sea and to the west, the Atlantic Ocean.
The research vessel will belong to the Belgian State, represented by the Federal Science Policy (BELSPO). The operational management responsibility of the Royal Institute of Natural Sciences (RBINS) who work closely with the Defense. The Navy will provide command staff with three (commander, first officer and navigator) and provide support. From 2023, it could provide a crew of two teams.
The delivery of the new research vessel will take place in Zeebrugge during the last quarter 2020. Its predecessor, the Belgica will then be sold.