Belgian Navy research ship R/V Belgica is scheduled to get a successor by 2020, the Belgium government announced on October 28.
The 32-year-old ship has reached an end of its service life and needs a replacement, secretary of state for science Elke Sleurs said.
RV Belgica is owned by the Belgian Science Policy Office (BELSPO) on behalf of the Belgian State and is managed by the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences (RBINS). The Belgian Navy provides the crew, operational support and a dock at the vessel’s home port of Zeebrugge.
Belgian scientists use the ship to carry out maritime scientific research. Activities include the monitoring of the water quality of the North Sea, where scientists continuously collect data on the biological, chemical, physical, geological and hydrodynamic processes in the region.
In addition, RV Belgica acts as a floating laboratory for researchers from Belgian universities and scientific institutes seeking to enlarge their knowledge of the marine environment.
The 50.9 meter vessel was christened by the Belgian Queen Fabiola in 1984. Belgica displaces 1,200 tonnes.