After three and a half years, the R / V Belgica ( Research Vessel ), the new oceanographic research vessel, finally arrived in its home port of Zeebrugge on Monday 13 December.
Around eight o’clock, its imposing appearance takes shape in the darkness. For the last part of the Scheur-Zand route, towards the port of Zeebrugge, the Belgica was escorted by the patrol vessel BNS Pollux. The surveillance planes of the UGMM (Management Unit of the Mathematical Model of the North Sea) also carried out aerial surveillance. She is sailing gracefully for the first time between the ” Nieuwe Koppen ” and her future home port.
At around ten o’clock, after her maiden voyage of just under four days from the Spanish city of Vigo, the ship was assigned its berth. This is located where its predecessor, the old Belgica, was moored.
There are fourteen permanent crew members on board: three officers of the Belgian Navy and eleven civilians, who depend on the French shipping company Genavir. This shipping company will be responsible for the management and operation of the oceanographic research vessel.
At the beginning of January 2022, the R / V Belgica will receive its first mission, heading for the Mediterranean. There, it will be put at the service of Eurofleets for five weeks. The ship will be used to help researchers take soil samples up to fifteen meters deep, in order to take several measurements and profile the seabed.
All this testifies to the excellent cooperation between the Belgian Science Policy Office (BELSPO) and the Belgian Navy, which guarantees us a bright future.
The general public will be able to visit the Belgica during the weekend of its baptism on June 25 in the port of Ghent.