Home Europe Belgium’s new research vessel Belgica launched in Portugal

Belgium’s new research vessel Belgica launched in Portugal

RV Belgica
Photo: Freire Shipyard

Belgium’s new oceanographic vessel RV Belgica, that will be replacing its namesake after over 36 years of service, has been launched at the Freire shipyard in Vigo, Portugal.

Launched on February 11, Belgica is the result of a joint project between the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences (RBINS), the Ministry of Defence and the Belgian Science Policy Office (BELSPO).

The vessel will be owned by the Belgian State and operated and managed by RBINS and the Belgian Navy.

Freire shipyard was awarded the international tender for the building of this new research vessel in 2018 with the objective to provide support to the marine research community for the coming 30 years. Delivery is scheduled by the end of 2020.


The 71-meter vessel will perform tasks in a variety of fields such as geology and sedimentology, fisheries, biology, chemistry, oceanography and hydrography; built with IMO polar code her mission will be to carry out research and survey tasks in the North Sea as well as in the Mediterranean and more northern areas.

Belgica will be equipped with shallow (EM2040) and deep‐water (EM304) bathymetric multibeam echosounders, parametric subbottom profilers, acoustic doppler current profilers in addition to a variety of unmanned and remotely-operated vehicles.