Taiwan receives new ocean research vessel

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The Taiwanese Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) has taken delivery of its latest ocean research vessel, the New Ocean Researcher 1, which was handed over by shipbuilder CSBC Corp this week.

The vessel will replace Ocean Researcher 1, which has been operated by the National Taiwan University since its launch in 1985.

The new vessel’s core mission will be gathering marine, oceanographic and climate data. To this end, it is equipped with long-range (150km) doppler weather radar and sonar equipment, as well as various weather data buoys and a Seaglider AUV (autonomous underwater vehicle). Communications equipment allows for weather data to be transmitted directly to Taiwan’s Central Weather Bureau.

The new ship is the third in new fleet of vessels to be delivered, with the smaller (500 ton) New Ocean Research 2 and 3 delivered in 2019, which have been assigned to biology and geology research and mineral resource research respectively.

The MOST also deploys the 2,600 ton R/V Legend for deep sea studies. This significant investment in research capabilities and new equipment was spurred by the devastating loss of the R/V Ocean Research 5 in 2014, with the loss of two crew. That incident also saw the instigation of a review into the crewing of the country’s research vessels, after issues surrounding management of hired crews was identified as a contributing factor to the OR 5’s loss.

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