The Investigator at sea from the air


Funded by the Australian Government, owned and operated by CSIRO under direction of an independent Steering Committee, the Marine National Facility provides a blue-water research capability to the Australian scientific community and their international collaborators.

The Marine National Facility is based at CSIRO’s Marine Laboratories in Hobart, Tasmania, which is also home port for the research vessel. Since 2000, 348 applications totalling over 8,000 days at sea have been applied for throughout all corners of Australia vast marine estate.  This research obtained from these voyages provides critical information to directly support government, industry and other stakeholders in making evidence based decisions to ensure the long-term viability and prosperity of Australian marine industries.

The Marine National Facility has been a key element of Australia's national research infrastructure since 1984.

Research vessel

The 94m research vessel, Investigator, is available for multidisciplinary research in the oceans and seas around Australia.

Investigator was commissioned in 2014-15 to replace the 66m Southern Surveyor. Investigator has a greater range and can carry more scientific personnel than Southern Surveyor, enabling research to be carried out to the Antarctic ice-edge.


The purpose of the Marine National Facility Steering Committee (MNFSC) is to assist the CSIRO Board to fulfil its governance responsibilities through the provision of high level advice on the ongoing delivery of ocean research capabilities for the nation.

The Marine National Facility comprises:

  • an ocean class research vessel Investigator
  • a package of scientific equipment and instrumentation
  • a collection of more than 30 years of marine data
  • the expertise required to manage an ocean going research platform and support vessel users
  • an independent Steering Committee and advisory committees to oversee the Facility

Updated: 13 April 2016