A new state of the art marine research vessel for Australia


Photo: Tenix

8 October 2007

Australia's marine territories are a wealth of biodiversity and resources. The latest addition to the Australia research fleet, the RV Solander , will support scientists at the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) in their work to better understand the marine environment for its protection.

Funded in part by a $5.5 million grant from the Australian Government's National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy, the new vessel was named in a ceremony at Fremantle today by The Hon. Julie Bishop MP, Federal Minister for Education, Science and Training.

The Hon Peter Lindsay MP, Federal Member for Herbert was instrumental in helping AIMS gain support for the new vessel.

The boat was named after Dr Daniel Solander, an eighteenth-century Swedish naturalist, student of Carl Linnaeus and naturalist on board the H.M.S. Endeavour. During Cook's voyage of discovery along the east coast of Australia he made a pioneering contribution to the scientific study of the continent.

Designed and purpose built for multi disciplinary marine science, the RV Solander will improve the Institute's capacity to conduct research in the open waters offshore Northern and Western Australia.

The steel hull of the vessel is 5 m in length, making the RV Solander the largest in the AIMS research fleet. The spacious vessel allows for a capacity of 18 people, who have the use of 20.6 sq. m of dry laboratory space and 12.5 sq. m of wet laboratory space, as well as scientific office space. This capacity will allow larger teams from AIMS to work together on multidisciplinary problems. It will also provide more opportunities for training students and collaborating with scientists from other organisations.

Unique design features of the RV Solander include a diver access platform on port side to ease diver entry into one of the vessels three tenders, a walk-in freezer for increased frozen sample storage capacity, and a hydrographic A frame mounted on the side of the vessel for oceanographic instrumentation. An internal moon pool, a feature unusual to a vessel of this size, will be used for mounting a range of instruments on the underside of the hull whilst at sea.

RV Solander was built by Tenix Marine Pty Ltd of Henderson, Western Australia, who had previously built AIMS' other large vessel the RV Cape Ferguson .

Tenix CEO, Greg Hayes, said that the ships consolidated the company's capability in building smaller research and patrol vessels.

"The construction of the two research vessels has generated significant economic benefits for Western Australia, whilst also supporting the work of the institute," Mr Hayes said.

"Tenix is proud to have been chosen to build these two vessels, which will play an important role in increasing the scientific community's understanding of Australia's marine environment."

AIMS CEO, Ian Poiner, said the new vessel significantly increases AIMS ability to explore and study Australia's vast tropical marine territory which houses much of Australia's unique but poorly understood biodiversity and hosts some of the most iconic marine life and marine habitats on earth. It also supports some of Australia's key marine industries including offshore oil and gas and tourism.

"The launch of the RV Solander is an important milestone in both AIMS' history and the development of Australian marine science."

The Ceremony begins at 10:0. Please arrive at 10:20 at Fuel Wharf/Molfetta Quay, (off Mews Road, next to MG Kailis Group Facility), Fishing Boat Harbour, Fremantle, Western Australia.

Media contact on site: Dr Peter Doherty 0418 469 770

Media contacts:

Jakob Webster, Tenix
Phone: 02 9904 4333
Mobile: 0400 745 030
eMail:jwebster@jacksonwells.com.au

Dr Ian Poiner, Chief Executive Officer, AIMS
Phone: 07 4753 4490
Mobile: 0419 702 652
eMail: i.poiner@aims.gov.au

Wendy Ellery, AIMS Media Liaison
Phone: 07 4753 4409
Mobile: 0418 729 265
eMail: w.ellery@aims.gov.au