Rolls-Royce Secures Freire Contract for Belgium’s New Research Vessel

Photo: Rolls-Royce

Rolls-Royce has been awarded a contract by the Spanish ship builder Freire to deliver ship design and equipment systems for a new oceanographic research vessel for Belgium.

The IMO polar code compliant vessel will be designed to carry out research and survey tasks in the North Sea and its adjacent sea areas, but also in the Mediterranean and more northern areas.

The research vessel will cater for the requirements of the Belgian marine scientific community when performing advanced marine research and education at sea. This will include research within the fields of geology and sedimentology, fisheries, biology, chemistry, oceanography (including meteorology). In addition, the vessel will be part of hydrography campaigns.

Asbjørn Skaro, Rolls-Royce, director Digital & Systems – Marine, said: “Three European countries have now chosen Rolls-Royce as a supplier of design and technology to their new research vessels; Belgium, Norway and the UK. These are all advanced, high-tech vessels that will carry out fundamental research at sea and below the seabed. We are of course honored to be part of such great tasks.”

The vessel, which is to replace the current RV Belgica, will be a UT 844 WP design from Rolls-Royce. In addition to ship design, Rolls-Royce will supply the main propulsion system, including side thrusters, Promas integrated propulsion and maneuvering system, power electric system and steering gear. A vital part of the systems delivery is also automation and control systems such as the propulsion control system, Unified Bridge and dynamic positioning (DP).

The project team responsible for the new research vessel is formed by the Belgian Defence, the Belgian Science Policy Office (BELSPO) and the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences – Operational Directorate Natural Environment (RBINS-OD Nature).

Detailed engineering and construction will take place at Freire’s shipyard in Vigo, Spain and the vessel is scheduled for delivery towards the end of 2020.

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