The new research vessel Belgica is be owned by the Belgian State represented by the Belgian Science Policy Office (BELSPO). The OD Nature of the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences (RBINS), in collaboration with the Ministry of Defense and a private operator, is responsible for the management of the ship.
The characteristics of the research vessel were determined based on a survey of the marine scientific community and (potential) users of the vessel.
The new research vessel is multidisciplinary and is able to support various research disciplines (fisheries, biology, chemistry, ...) and is equipped with state-of-the-art scientific equipment. Compared to the "old" RV Belgica, it offers more space for scientists and for research. It will spend more time at sea each year (about 300 days a year) and cover a wider research area (North Sea, Atlantic Ocean, Mediterranean Sea and Arctic area in summer). It is built to the highest standards of energy consumption, emissions (ecological ship) and noise production (acoustic silence).
The vessel can also serve as a platform for European cooperation and is adapted to the existing European modern marine research infrastructures. This brings new opportunities for Belgian researchers, such as research requiring the use of remote-controlled or autonomous vehicles (ROVs - remotely operated vehicle or AUVs - autonomous underwater vehicles).