The Government has earmarked the purchase of a new marine research vessel for the State in the National Development Plan. The new vessel is expected to be 50m in length and would replace the 31m Celtic Voyager, which has been at sea for more than 20 years. The new vessel will be a sister ship to the State's largest research ship, the 65m Celtic Explorer.
Marine Institute chief executive Dr Peter Heffernan welcomed the Government's commitment, and confirmed work was at an "advanced stage" towards formal sanction for the capital project.
"The Marine Institute is delighted with the news that the replacement for the Celtic Voyager is included in the National Development Plan. The Marine Institute plans to tender for the design of a new national research vessel this year and, subject to DAFM and DPER requirements, the Institute anticipates tendering for the construction phase in 2019, with the build process expected to complete in 2022" Dr. Heffernan said.
The vessel will be able to go to sea for at least 21 days at a time and will be designed to operate in harsh sea conditions. Based in Galway, the vessel would be used by the Marine Institute, the Geological Survey of Ireland (GSI), many other State agencies and universities to undertake fisheries research, oceanographic and environmental research, and seabed mapping and surveys; as well as maintaining and deploying weather buoys, observational infrastructure and Remotely Operated Vehicles.