The Secretary of State for the North Sea, Bart Tommelein, visited the oceanographic vessel RV (Research Vessel) Belgica, on the 10th of July 2015. He wanted to see how oceanographic research is conducted during a one day trip.
The Federal Science Policy Office is the owner of RV Belgica. The ship is available for scientists who wish to carry out marine scientific research. Our coastguard partner the Royal Belgian Institute for Natural Sciences (RBINS)' OD Nature is responsible for the ship's budget, scientific equipment and the planning of scientific campaigns. They work together with another coastguard partner, the ministry of Defense, which provides the crew, operational support and a mooring in the home port of Zeebrugge.
The RV Belgica is at sea for up to two hundred days a year and different teams work on it day and night, both national and international. The ship is a 50.9 metre long floating laboratory and monitors the quality of the North Sea by constantly collecting all kinds of data about the biological, chemical, physical, geological and hydrodynamic processes which occur.The RV Belgica has watched over the North Sea nonstop for 30 years, however, after 30 years a new research ship is needed to keep the North Sea protected. More information: How Big is Belgica.