(only in French)
The oceanographic research vessel Belgica has celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2014. Although the RV Belgica continuous to perform scientific activities for ca. 180 days per year, the renewal of the ship should be envisaged. The lifetime of research vessels is estimated to 30 years.
For this reason steps were undertaken to study the different options for its replacement.
In 2009 the Belgian Science Policy Office commissioned a feasibility study to Techmar international (in collaboration with ULg) on the purchase options for a new oceanographic research ship or modernisation of the existing oceanographic research vessel.
The main conclusions of this study are:
In 2013-2014 a financing study was performed by BELSPO and RBINS-OD Nature to get an update of the building and operating costs of a new Belgian research vessel. This study was based on the scientific needs as were expressed by the Belgian scientific community in the feasibility study. Furthermore, several management options and collaborations with neighboring countries for the build and exploitation of the new research vessel were investigated.
The financing study confirmed that the modernisation of the current RV Belgica is financially, technically and scientifically not an option and that the build of a new ship is the only coherent solution. The cost of a new research vessel is estimated at 54,45 MEURO, including VAT.
The conclusions were presented to the Federal Government in April 2014.
On the 28th of October 2016, the Ministerial Council agreed to replace the research vessel RV Belgica, after a proposal by Secretary of State for Science Policy Elke Sleurs and Secretary of State for the North Sea Philippe De Backer.
On the 31st of March 2017, the Council of Ministers agreed to launch the public procurement for the purchase of a new research vessel to replace the RV Belgica, after a proposal by Secretary of State for Science Policy Zuhal Demir.