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Monday 30 January 2023 Dublin: 6°C
# marine research
New marine research vessel named after Tom Crean commissioned in Dingle
The RV Tom Crean will be at sea for 300 operational days each year.

IRELAND’S NEWEST MARINE research vessel, the RV Tom Crean, was commissioned today at a ceremony at Dingle Harbour in Co Kerry.

The research vessel is named after the Irish explorer, a native of Kerry, who undertook three ground-breaking expeditions to the Antarctic in the early 20th Century.

It will be based in Galway and will enable the Marine Institute to continue to carry out vital surveys that contribute to Ireland’s position as a leader in marine science.

The research vessel will carry out a wide range of marine research activities including expanded fisheries surveys, seabed mapping, collect data to support marine spatial planning, climate change related research, environmental monitoring, deep water surveys, and undertake research in the Atlantic Ocean with our EU partners.

The RV Tom Crean build and commissioning cost was €25 million. It replaces the RV Celtic Voyager, which was Ireland’s first purpose-built research vessel which arrived in 1997.

It is a silent vessel, capable of operating throughout the Irish Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). It makes much less underwater noise than traditional vessels, reducing the effect of noise on fish populations while surveying and sampling, so that a more accurate stock assessment can be made

It will be at sea for 300 operational days each year – heading to sea for at least 21 days at a time – and aims to accommodate up to 3,000 scientist days annually. The vessel is designed to operate in the harsh sea conditions of the Atlantic.

The granddaughter of Tom Crean, Aileen Crean O’Brien, officially launched the vessel at the ceremony in Dingle today. A blessing ceremony was also held. 

Speaking at the commissioning, Minister for Agriculture and the Marine Charlie McConalogue said Ireland’s oceans are vital to our economy, our environment, and many aspects of our daily lives.

“The RV Tom Crean will undertake essential scientific work, which will support many of the projects outlined in the Programme for Government; including fisheries assessments, food security, offshore renewable energy, marine spatial planning, marine protected areas and assist the State in addressing the challenges of climate change,” he said.

CEO of the Marine Institute Dr Paul Connolly said naming the vessel after Tom Crean gives recognition to an Irish explorer of “international renown whose life was packed with amazing feats of Antarctic bravery, determination and courage”.

“The Institute appreciates the support of the descendants of Tom Crean in this decision,” he said.

Our new multi-purpose research vessel will enhance Ireland’s capacity to undertake international collaborative research to acquire the ocean data and knowledge essential to managing our vast marine resources.

“The ocean is essential to life on earth. It produces half the oxygen we breath and is a major driver of our weather. We need the best quality data, science and advice to inform decisions on the big challenges facing society – mitigating the impacts of climate change, protecting and restoring ocean biodiversity, and realizing the full potential of our ocean economy,” Connolly continued.

“The new vessel will be used by the Marine Institute, other state agencies and universities to gather essential data that will be used to deliver the scientific advice for fisheries assessment, offshore renewable energy, marine spatial planning, marine protected areas and addressing the challenges of climate change.”

The vessel design incorporates the latest proven technologies to ensure that it operates as efficiently as possible, with reduced fuel consumption and minimising the vessel’s environmental impact and carbon footprint. 

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