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RV Tom Crean Completes Delivery Voyage As Ireland’s New Research Vessel Arrives in Port of Galway

19th July 2022
The Marine Institute's newest research vessel the RV Tom Crean arrives into Galway
The Marine Institute's newest research vessel the RV Tom Crean arrives into Galway. Credit: Marine Institute-retweeted

The Marine Institute's newest research vessel the RV Tom Crean has completed its delivery voyage from a Spanish shipyard to Ireland, having arrived this morning to dock in the Port of Galway.

RV Tom Crean which cost €25m will remain in Galway before embarking on its first survey towards the end of July and then making its way to Dingle in advance of its official commissioning due to take place in Autumn 2022.

As Ireland's latest marine research vessel has been named the RV Tom Crean (as Afloat highlighted in early 2021), after the renowned seaman and explorer from Kerry who undertook three ground-breaking expeditions to the Antarctic in the early years of the 20th Century.

Ireland’s newest research vessel the RV Tom Crean has arrived in Irish waters and is currently docked in the Port of Galway before embarking on its first survey towards the end of July and then making its way to Dingle in advance of its official commissioning due to take place in Autumn 2022Ireland’s newest research vessel the RV Tom Crean has arrived in Irish waters and is currently docked in the Port of Galway before embarking on its first survey towards the end of July and then making its way to Dingle in advance of its official commissioning due to take place in Autumn 2022

The RV Tom Crean which will be based in Galway after its commissioning will enable the Marine Institute to continue to lead and support vital scientific 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 and marine spatial planning, climate change related research, environmental monitoring, deep water surveys, and support increased research in the Atlantic Ocean.

The RV Tom Crean arrives in Galway docks amid great excitementAbove and below: The RV Tom Crean arrives in Galway docks amid great excitement

Above and below: The RV Tom Crean arrives in Galway docks amid great excitement

Paul Connolly, CEO of the Marine Institute speaking about the vessel's arrival into Irish Waters said: "This has been an extremely successful project with the vessel arriving on budget and on time into Irish Shores. We are delighted that Galway, is the vessel's first stop in Irish waters ahead of its official launch and commissioning due to take place in Dingle, Kerry in Autumn. The new vessel will be used by the Marine Institute, other state agencies and universities to undertake critical work to support fisheries assessment, offshore renewable energy, marine spatial planning, marine protected areas and addressing the challenges of climate change. After the official commissioning, the RV Tom Crean will be based in Galway, and it will greatly enhance our capacity to undertake collaborative research and acquire the data and knowledge essential to sustainably manage our ocean resources."

Ireland's latest marine research vessel has been named the RV Tom Crean, after the renowned seaman and explorer from Kerry who undertook three ground-breaking expeditions to the Antarctic in the early years of the 20th Century. Pictured were Isaac White age 10 and Seren Flavin age 9. Picture Jason ClarkeIreland's latest marine research vessel has been named the RV Tom Crean, after the renowned seaman and explorer from Kerry who undertook three ground-breaking expeditions to the Antarctic in the early years of the 20th Century. Pictured were Isaac White age 10 and Seren Flavin age 9. Picture Jason Clarke

The new research vessel is a silent vessel, capable of operating throughout the Irish Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and will replace the RV Celtic Voyager, which was Ireland's first purpose-built research vessel which arrived in 1997. The RV Tom Crean 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 3000 scientist days annually and is designed to operate in harsh sea conditions.

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.

You can track the progress of the vessel in the lead up to its official commissioning in September on the Marine Institute website here.

Listen to Lorna Siggins' podcast with Aodhan Fitzgerald, the Marine Institute’s research vessel manager, and project manager for the new build here

Jehan Ashmore

About The Author

Jehan Ashmore

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Jehan Ashmore is a marine correspondent, researcher and photographer, specialising in Irish ports, shipping and the ferry sector serving the UK and directly to mainland Europe. Jehan also occasionally writes a column, 'Maritime' Dalkey for the (Dalkey Community Council Newsletter) in addition to contributing to UK marine periodicals. 

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Marine Institute Research Vessel Tom Crean

Ireland’s new marine research vessel will be named the RV Tom Crean after the renowned County Kerry seaman and explorer who undertook three major groundbreaking expeditions to the Antarctic in the early years of the 20th Century which sought to increase scientific knowledge and to explore unreached areas of the world, at that time.

Ireland's new multi-purpose marine research vessel RV Tom Crean, was delivered in July 2022 and will be used by the Marine Institute and other State agencies and universities to undertake fisheries research, oceanographic and environmental research, seabed mapping surveys; as well as maintaining and deploying weather buoys, observational infrastructure and Remotely Operated Vehicles.

The RV Tom Crean will also enable the Marine Institute to continue to lead and support high-quality scientific surveys that contribute to Ireland's position as a leader in marine science. The research vessel is a modern, multipurpose, silent vessel (designed to meet the stringent criteria of the ICES 209 noise standard for fisheries research), capable of operating in the Irish Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). The Tom Crean is able to go to sea for at least 21 days at a time and is designed to operate in harsh sea conditions.

RV Tom Crean Specification Overview

  • Length Overall: 52.8 m
  • Beam 14m
  • Draft 5.2M 

Power

  • Main Propulsion Motor 2000 kw
  • Bow Thruster 780 kw
  • Tunnel thruster 400 kw

Other

  • Endurance  21 Days
  • Range of 8,000 nautical miles
  • DP1 Dynamic Positioning
  • Capacity for 3 x 20ft Containers

Irish Marine Research activities

The new state-of-the-art multi-purpose marine research vessel will carry out a wide range of marine research activities, including vital fisheries, climate change-related research, seabed mapping and oceanography.

The new 52.8-metre modern research vessel, which will replace the 31-metre RV Celtic Voyager, has been commissioned with funding provided by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine approved by the Government of Ireland.

According to Aodhán FitzGerald, Research Vessel Manager of the MI, the RV Tom Crean will feature an articulated boom crane aft ([email protected] 10m, [email protected] 15m), located on the aft-gantry. This will be largely used for loading science equipment and net and equipment handling offshore.

Mounted at the stern is a 10T A-frame aft which can articulate through 170 degrees which are for deploying and recovering large science equipment such as a remotely operated vehicle (ROV’s), towed sleds and for fishing operations.

In addition the fitting of an 8 Ton starboard side T Frame for deploying grabs and corers to 4000m which is the same depth applicable to when the vessel is heaving but is compensated by a CTD system consisting of a winch and frame during such operations.

The vessel will have the regulation MOB boat on a dedicated davit and the facility to carry a 6.5m Rigid Inflatable tender on the port side.

Also at the aft deck is where the 'Holland 1' Work class ROV and the University of Limericks 'Etain' sub-Atlantic ROV will be positioned. In addition up to 3 x 20’ (TEU) containers can be carried.

The newbuild has been engineered to endure increasing harsher conditions and the punishing weather systems encountered in the North-East Atlantic where deployments of RV Tom Crean on surveys spent up to 21 days duration.

In addition, RV Tom Crean will be able to operate in an ultra silent-mode, which is crucial to meet the stringent criteria of the ICES 209 noise standard for fisheries research purposes.

The classification of the newbuild as been appointed to Lloyds and below is a list of the main capabilities and duties to be tasked by RV Tom Crean:

  • Oceanographic surveys, incl. CTD water sampling
  • Fishery research operations
  • Acoustic research operations
  • Environmental research and sampling operation incl. coring
  • ROV and AUV/ASV Surveys
  • Buoy/Mooring operations

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