Marine National Facility media release, 12 December 2014

Today at the Welcome to Port Celebrations in Hobart, Investigator will transition from being a CSIRO  ship building and commissioning project to being Australia’s new Marine National Facility ship ready to embark on its maiden voyage in March 2015.

The Chair of the Marine National Facility (MNF) Steering Committee, Dr Ian Poiner, said the maiden voyage is a collaboration involving the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre, the Integrated Marine Observing System, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology and the University of Tasmania’s Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, and will be led by Professor Tom Trull.

“Professor Trull’s research will continue to contribute to the global understanding of the Southern Ocean, which plays a dominant role in the movement of heat throughout the world’s oceans as it moderates the Earth’s weather, its variability, and rate of change,” Dr Poiner said.

“The voyage will redeploy the Integrated Marine Observing System’s Southern Ocean Time Series and Southern Ocean Flux Station moorings, reestablishing essential monitoring infrastructure providing time series measurements critical for our understanding of the Southern Ocean.”

“In a time of global interest in the Southern Ocean, this voyage will reinforce Australia’s research investment in the region, and will help us better understand this vast ocean’s influence on weather and rainfall in Australia and globally.”

“The 94 metre Investigator is capable of 10,000 nautical miles, or 60 days in a single voyage, and the maiden voyage is the first on which Australian researchers will have access to an enviable suite of scientific equipment that will dramatically improve Australia’s national marine knowledge, putting our country at the forefront of marine research internationally.”

“The MNF Steering Committee is very excited about managing the $120 million ship on behalf of the nation and enabling research crucial to managing our vast ocean estate,” Dr Poiner said.

“Research enabled by the MNF contributes to Australia’s national benefit, and informs government and industry to support decision making in fisheries management, geological resources, regional and global climate, coastal and offshore developments and marine operations.”

“Australia has the third largest marine jurisdiction globally, with sovereign rights over much of this vast estate and associated fishing, biotechnological, mineral, and petroleum resources.”

“These resources and their associated industries contribute to the vitality and sustained success of the Australian economy, in 2009 the national value of production across all marine-based industries was valued at AUD$ 42.3 billion, contributing to more than 10 per cent of GDP.

A full list of voyages for the next three years is available on the Marine National Facility website