In its May Budget, the Commonwealth Government committed AU$120 million to the purchase of a new 85-metre research vessel for the Marine National Facility, together with an additional AU$30 million for the operation and maintenance of the current Australian research vessel, Southern Surveyor. The new vessel will replace the Southern Surveyor.
Dr Clark says the Future Research Vessel Project opens new opportunities for science to contribute to the sustainable development and management of ocean resources for the benefit of future generations.
“Through the Marine National Facility the horizons of Australian marine science will broaden in unprecedented ways,” Dr Clark says.
“It will allow us to track ocean structure, heat and carbon inventory from the ice edge to the equator, and with the new long-range ability, to sample across entire ocean basins.
“The new vessel will allow scientists to get closer to the ice edge of Antarctica than before and they will also have broadband internet access so they can do more research at sea.
“All researchers with an interest in ocean science can now consider accessing a ship capable of conducting research much further afield, carrying considerably more scientists and support staff and having first-class on-board facilities.
“When you consider that 60 per cent of Australian territory is ocean but only 12 per cent of that has been mapped, there is still a lot to discover. This investment will enable Australia to maintain its pre-eminent position internationally as a marine science nation and meet future demands for innovative, cutting-edge marine research.”