Thursday, December 7, 2017

The Investigator

If Jerusalem, according to Trump, is the Capital  city of Israel, then Hobart is the Capital city of Antarctica and Southern Ocean.  Our ice-breakers and research vessels, based here in this small but beautifully put together little Isle, are second to none and at the top of the pinnacle of excellence is the Investigator. Here she is, sitting calmly just off the mouth of my cave this morning, calibrating its gizmos.

When it is in port I can see it at wharf and I watch it come and go on its voyages. often I see the Aurora Australis too as it comes and goes; a very agile and 'firm' ice-breaker that the scientists in Antarctica, from many nations and nationalities, depend upon.

But it is the Investigator that always attracts the eye of visitors.

RV Investigator is our state-of-the-art marine research vessel, supporting Australia’s atmospheric, oceanographic, biological and geosciences research from the tropical north to the Antarctic ice-edge.

So much of our deep ocean remains a mystery - we know more about the moon than we do about our deepest oceans.

The Marine National Facility's research vessel Investigator enables researchers to head out into the Indian, Pacific and Southern Oceans to:
undertake deep sea oceanography
map and study the geology of Australia's marine estate to underpin resource exploration
monitor and better understand our fisheries
learn more about our weather patterns and large ocean processes.

It comes from a long history.
Ye Olde Investigator.

In May 2009, the Australian Government allocated $120 million for a new ocean-going research vessel to replace the 66-metre Southern Surveyor.

It was designed, built and commissioned through the Future Research Vessel Project, an initiative of the Australian Government under the Super Science Initiative and financed from the Education Investment Fund.

Given the name RV Investigator after a national naming competition, the 93.9 metre ship is capable of spending up to 300 days a year at sea, supporting activities across a range of disciplines in oceanographic, geological, biological and atmospheric.

Each voyage is able to accommodate up to 40 scientists and support staff, and can go to sea for up to 60 days at a time and cover 10 000 nautical miles.

The ship is operated by the Marine National Facility on behalf of the nation, and its operation is guided by an independent steering committee. The ship is funded by the Australian Government to support voyages by Australian scientists and their overseas collaborators.

Have a look around it.

Australia has one of the world’s largest marine territories, much of which remains unexplored, with only one blue-water research vessel available to our marine research community.

Marine research is vital to the sustainable development and management of the ocean, and to understanding its influence in the region and around the world.

The 94-metre Investigator has been built to specifically meet the needs of Australian marine scientists to undertake geoscience, atmospheric, biological and oceanographic research.

Examples of some of its state-of-the-art features and capabilities include:
Mapping the sea floor at any depth. Australia has the third largest ocean territory in the world, but only 25 per cent of Australia’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) has been mapped with multibeam. Much of our deep ocean remains unexplored and unknown.
Studying what marine life lives between 1500 to 3000 metres below the surface to learn more about where fish live, eat and breed in order to better manage our fisheries.
Collecting data in a 150 kilometre radius around the ship to improve our weather forecasts. It is one of only a handful of vessels globally that has a weather radar on board.
Capturing water samples as deep as 7000 metres to help understand where ocean currents travel and to monitor changes in deep ocean temperatures. 
The leading edge of ocean research.

Australia’s oceans are estimated to contribute $42 billion annually to our economy, increasing to over $100 billion in ten years. The ship is technically impressive and will open up avenues of discovery both within and across scientific disciplines.

With about $20 million worth of scientific equipment for oceanographic, geological, biological and atmospheric research, the ship will dramatically improve the national marine knowledge.

Meanwhile, the lads and lassies on the  ice will still rely on deliveries of chocolate and tea by the Aurora.

And we shall raise a glass to them 

Don't run your heaters and vehicles too much chaps or the global warmist fanatics will blame me for the ice melting.



  1. "Given the name RV Investigator after a national naming competition ..."

    Top vote for ours was Boaty McBoatface.

    1. Yes, a surprisingly mature choice of name. Investigator, that is. Although I disremember any National Competition. Were another to be attempted all hell would break loose over the nominal gender of the ship.

  2. I appreciate this fabulous shipping vessel. In the later years of my career I was part of a team responsible for a littoral vehicle that was deployed onto ships such as this.

    Before that I was a Chally 2 girl :-)

    and before that... (I won't bore you with the details :-))

    1. You can tell us of your wide experiences, Cherie, and we will not be bored !


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