COVID-19 impact on MNF operations

In line with efforts to minimise the spread of COVID-19, we are taking proactive measures to safeguard the health of our people, partners, customers and communities. These measures will have significant implications for the way we work and a direct impact on the operations of RV Investigator.

Impacts on the voyage schedule will include the need to cancel voyages of RV Investigator and reschedule research projects.

Voyage cancellations are unavoidable given the restrictions in the current operating environment and proactive measures being taken to safeguard health and prevent spread of COVID-19.

All changes to the voyage schedule will be made in consultation with our voyage partners and participating institutions. Where voyages are cancelled, we will work closely with those involved to identify options for rescheduling of research projects.

We recognise the significant amount of time and effort that goes into planning and preparing for a voyage. To minimise any unnecessary preparations, we will seek to provide advice about changes to the voyage schedule at the earliest possible opportunity.

Collaboration is at the heart of everything we do at CSIRO, so we remain committed to working closely with our partners, customers and community through this difficult time and beyond.

The situation with COVID-19 is rapidly evolving and challenging for us all. We thank you for your patience and support.

Updates

Updated information about impacts to our operations and changes to the voyage schedule will be provided on this page - see updates below.

Updates will also be provided via the Marine National Facility (MNF) Mailing List.

Have you signed up? Keep informed by subscribing to the MNF Mailing List

Updates published >>>

  • 30/7/20: At-sea operations restarted on 29 July 2020 
  • 11/6/20: Revision of 2020-21 voyage schedule and delay to call for 2022-23 primary applications
  • 16/4/20: Suspension of Indigenous Time at Sea Scholarship
  • 30/3/20: Delay to call for Primary Applications in 2020
  • 27/3/20: Education and outreach activities involving RV Investigator
  • 26/3/20: Voyage cancellations in 2019-20 research schedule

UPDATE 30/7: At-sea operations restarted on 29 July 2020 

CSIRO Marine National Facility (MNF) restarted at-sea operations of Research Vessel (RV) Investigator on 29 July with a 10-day trial and calibration voyage. This follows a four-month pause in operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The health and safety of our personnel remains paramount in decision making about MNF operations. The decision to proceed with the trial and calibration voyage has been made in line with advice from our at-sea healthcare provider, and with consideration of state and national guidelines. As part of a Restart Management Plan, ten MNF COVID-19 Protocols will apply to all activities on board, providing wide-ranging measures to safeguard the health and well-being of participants. Some of these measures include testing of all participants for COVID-19 prior to departure, cohording of personnel to limit close contactsm maintaining physeical distancing on board, daily temperature checks and ship cleaning routines and single occupancy of all cabins.  

The trial and calibration voyage will not only be calibrating the ship’s systems and instruments after a prolonged pause in port but will also be testing new ways of operating in the current pandemic. A key objective of the voyage is to test the practical implementation of the MNF COVID-19 Protocols. Based on the lessons from this voyage, CSIRO will then make a decision as to whether it is safe to resume science voyages.  A revised 2020-21 Voyage Schedule will be published on this site at that time.

The CSIRO Marine National Facility continues to work closely with our research partners and clients to manage the disruptions to our voyage schedule from the COVID-19 pandemic. Collaboration is at the heart of everything we do at CSIRO, so we remain committed to working closely with our partners, clients and community through this difficult time and beyond.

Keep informed with our operational updates, voyage schedule and research opportunities by subscribing to the MNF Mailing List

UPDATE 11/6: Revision of 2020-21 voyage schedule and delay to call for 2022-23 primary applications

The MNF continues to work closely with stakeholders to manage the research and scheduling impacts on RV Investigator as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Currently, we are in the process of revising the 2020-21 voyage schedule due to the range of impacts on our operations and voyage science teams from the COVID-19 pandemic. While this takes place, the schedule has been removed from the website and will be republished as soon as the revision is finalised.

The call for Primary Applications for the 2022-23 voyage schedule of RV Investigator will also be delayed due to impacts on our operations and existing voyage schedules from the COVID-19 pandemic. An update about the timing of the next Primary Call will be provided as soon as it is available.

Concurrently, we are working through the requirements for restarting our at-sea operations and hope that this will occur early in the new financial year. However, our top priority will always be the safety and well-being of all on board so operations will only restart when the advice, including medical advice from our healthcare provider, indicates that it’s appropriate to do so.

We thank all stakeholders and the community for their ongoing patience and support in these challenging times.

Keep informed with our operational updates, voyage schedule and research opportunities by subscribing to the MNF Mailing List

UPDATE 16/4: Suspension of Indigenous Time at Sea Scholarship

CSIRO advises that the current round of the Indigenous Time at Sea Scholarship (ITSS) has been suspended until further notice due to impacts from the national COVID-19 response.

The current round was to include voyage opportunities on both CSIRO research vessel Investigator and Schmidt Ocean Institute research vessel Falkor, who have partnered with CSIRO for the 2020 ITSS program.

Unfortunately, science operations of both vessels have been significantly impacted by the current situation with COVID-19. All science operations of RV Investigator have been suspended until August 2020 and the Schmidt Ocean Institute have similarly advised of significant impacts to RV Falkor operations over coming months.

Future voyage opportunities for the ITSS program will be reviewed once further information is available about the resumption of normal science operations. We will aim to prioritise the offer of future positions in the program to those meritorious applications received in the current round, wherever possible.

Please note that existing applicants from the current round will be directly contacted by the Marine National Facility as soon as there are any updates about the program.

We appreciate the effort from all who have applied for the ITSS program. The situation with COVID-19 is challenging for us all and we thank you for your patience.

Further information will be provided as it becomes available. Visit the ITSS program webpage here.

UPDATE 30/3: Delay to call for Primary Applications in 2020

The call for Primary Applications for the 2022-23 voyage schedule of RV Investigator will be delayed due to impacts on Marine National Facility (MNF) operations from the national COVID-19 response.

The call for Primary Applications was initially scheduled for June 2020 but this call will now be made in September 2020.

This will be a single-year call for research projects.

Further information for applicants will be provided closer to the date via the MNF website and MNF Mailing List.

For more information, visit the Primary Applications web page.

UPDATE 27/3: Education and outreach activities involving RV Investigator

CSIRO is responding to the unfolding COVID-19 situation by reviewing and managing public access to our facilities including research vessel Investigator.

Until further notice, no public access will be provided to RV Investigator and all public events involving the ship have been cancelled. This is in line with the suspension of all science operations of RV Investigator until August 2020.

Our number one priority is looking after the safety of our staff, partners, visitors and community, and we are taking proactive measures to safeguard health and prevent spread of COVID-19.

We will continue to closely monitor the situation and provide updates as new information becomes available.

In the meantime, the education and outreach team at the Marine National Facility will be developing a virtual tour program to offer you the opportunity to explore the ship and experience the research it delivers from the comfort (and isolation!) of your home. Stay tuned for further updates.

Let us bring RV Investigator to you! Take a virtual tour of the ship here.

UPDATE 26/3: Voyage cancellations in 2019-20 research schedule

CSIRO advises that all science operations of research vessel Investigator will be suspended until August 2020 as a result of impacts from the national COVID-19 response.

With the current situation rapidly evolving, impacts on the voyage schedule have been unavoidable given restrictions in the current operating environment and proactive measures being taken to safeguard health and prevent spread of COVID-19.

Effective immediately, all voyages of RV Investigator until August 2020 have now been cancelled. The voyages that have been cancelled are:

  • IN2020_V02
  • IN2020_V03
  • IN2020_T02
  • IN2020_V04
  • IN2020_T03

The planned Sydney port period in May this year has also been cancelled.

RV Investigator will now remain in its home port of Hobart until further notice.

The Marine National Facility will work closely with affected voyage partners to identify options for future scheduling of research voyages and projects.

We will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates as new information becomes available. We thank you for your patience and support.

Further information

Information about the voyage schedule and voyage research projects is available via the following links:

Media enquiries

Mr Matt Marrison

Communication Advisor Matt.Marrison@csiro.au +61 3 6232 5197