Ireland's new state-of-the-art 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. Designed by Norwegian ship design consultants Skipsteknisk AS and built by Spanish shipyard Astilleros Armon Vigo S.A., the vessel will enable 300 operational days at sea each year, and up to 3000 scientist days per year.
The RV Tom Crean will 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.
INFOMAR were proud to be part of its very first scientific survey, which left Galway just 5 days after the vessel was delivered, to continue mapping in the Celtic Sea. The DECC funded INFOMAR programme has extensively mapped the Irish seabed utilising both the Marine Institute partner RV Celtic Voyager and RV Celtic Explorer and the Geological Survey Ireland partner inshore vessel fleet – RV Keary, RV Mallet, RV Geo, RV Lir and RV Galtee. The new vessels' capabilities will help to deliver Ireland’s ambitious mapping targets, to comprehensively survey the entire national seabed area by 2026. The new vessel is fitted with a state-of-the-art hydrographic EM2040D Multibeam Echosounder, a Knudsen Chirp System for sub-bottom profiling and a magnetometer. The bow is specifically designed to reduce bubble wash over the hydrographic sensors further increasing the efficiency and mapping capabilities.