Restart of at-sea operations following long maintenance period

RV Investigator commenced a program of commissioning voyages on 10 November with a 5-day sea trial and calibration voyage (IN2021_E01) out of Hobart.

The program of commissioning voyages of research vessel (RV) Investigator follows the successful completion of a long maintenance period to undertake vessel maintenance activities and capability upgrades.

At-sea operations are scheduled to continue during November and December with three further sea trial and calibration voyages (IN2021_E02, IN2021_E03, IN2021_E04). These voyages are important for maintaining the advanced scientific capabilities of the vessel, and to allow new equipment and systems to be tested, calibrated and commissioned.

The long maintenance period, which commenced at the end of July, saw several scheduled programs of work consolidated into a single port period. It also provided an opportunity for capability upgrade projects affected by the COVID-19 pandemic to be completed, including projects requiring the support of international technicians and expertise.

During the long maintenance period, RV Investigator was also prepared for commissioning of a new giant piston corer system and heavy ocean towing system (HOTS). The HOTS was supported by the Science and Industry Endowment Fund (SIEF). These systems will greatly increase the deep-water research capabilities of the vessel.

Following the successful completion of the program of commissioning voyages, RV Investigator is scheduled to undertake its next research voyage in early January 2022. This will be a 56-day voyage to Antarctica to study past changes in Antarctic bottom water (AABW) production over multiple glacial cycles. This research aims to help predict how a warming climate will impact future ocean circulation.

Charter of RV Tangaroa (TAN2021_V01/TAN2113)

RV Tangaroa departs Wellington, NZ for the voyage to Macquarie Island. Image:  © Rebekah Parsons-King / NIWA.

During November, the Marine National Facility will charter New Zealand research vessel (RV) Tangaroa to deliver a voyage to Macquarie Island. RV Tangaroa is operated by NIWA , the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, a New Zealand research institute. The vessel is an ice strengthened and dynamically positioned deep-water research vessel.

This voyage will be out of Wellington, NZ and crewed by NIWA. The primary objective of the voyage is to recover scientific equipment called ocean bottom seismometers (OBS) that were deployed around Macquarie Island by RV Investigator in October 2020 during voyage IN2020_V06.

The OBS have been measuring seismic activity of the Macquarie Ridge Complex for the past 12 months as part of a project being led by Prof Hrvoje Tkalčić from the Australian National University  in collaboration with the University of Tasmania, University of Cambridge and California Institute of Technology (Caltech). The project aims to understand the largest intraoceanic earthquakes of the 20th and 21st centuries.

Scientists will use seismic wavefield recorded by the ocean bottom seismometers and five seismometers installed on Macquarie Island to generate 3D images of the region’s subsurface. The data collected will help enhance monitoring of earthquakes in the region and the development of more accurate modelling of tsunami potential.

Further information about this voyage is available from the NIWA voyage catalogue

Thank you 

We recognise and thank all who have worked tirelessly throughout the long maintenance period to deliver this significant program of work, including our dedicated CSIRO team, national and international partners, and ship managers and crew from ASP Ship Management.