Construction of Australia’s new $120 million Marine National Facility research vessel, Investigator, began in Singapore today, heralding a new era in marine and atmospheric research.

Australia’s ocean territory is the third largest in the world and includes unique biodiversity and valuable resources and marine science is critical for the sustainable management of ocean assets. 

The Executive Director of the Future Research Vessel Project at CSIRO, Toni Moate, who attended the steel cutting ceremony in Singapore, said the 93.6 metre research vessel would be capable of conducting marine research from our coastal waters, to the Antarctic ice edge and to the tropical waters to the north.

The contract to design, build and commission the vessel was awarded to Teekay Holdings Australia, which partnered with the Sembawang Shipyard in Singapore because of its track record and strong commitment to new technologies and innovation.

 “The equipment on board our new world-class vessel will for the first time allow Australian scientists to carry out advanced atmospheric research on board the Marine National Facility,” Ms Moate said.

“It will also be capable of mapping the seafloor six kilometres below the surface, conducting deep water coring to 24 metres and it will have the latest satellite communications technology.”

Investigator will be operated by CSIRO and will be available to all Australian marine scientists. It replaces the existing Marine National Facility ship, Southern Surveyor.

In 2009 the Australian Government committed AU$120 million to the purchase of a new research vessel for the Marine National Facility. The project is an initiative of the Australian Government being conducted as part of the Super Science Initiative and financed from the Education Investment Fund.