Vessel Profile

Home port:
Zeebrugge, Belgium
Home port Coordinates:
Latitude: 51.3360 Longitude: 3.1986
Organisation & Address:

Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences – Operational Directorate Natural Environment (RBINS-OD Nature)

3de en 23ste Linieregimentsplein, B-8400 Ostend, Belgium

Normal Area of Operation:

65N – 32N & 15W – 15E

North Atlantic shelves from Norway over Ireland to Morocco.

Max No of EF+ Days:
Vessel details:




Gross Tonnage

Ice class


Service speed

Max No. Scientific


No. of EF+ Scientific Berths







9 kn



Technical Detail

Laboratory Facilities (fixed and temporary):

The vessel has a free aft deck of 140 m² and is equipped with 6 laboratories and two areas reserved for scientific operations on the bridge: 110 m² in total. Side working deck: 20 m²; Wet lab: 20 m²; Dry lab space microbiology: 12 m²; chemical lab:10 m²; biology lab: 12 m²; Fish lab: 20 m² with direct access to the rear deck; Computer room: 12 m²; Pilot house: two zones are reserved for scientific work: 17 m²;

Cold store to – 25°C: 8 m²; to 0°C: 6 m²;Storage 70 m² at the intermediate deck; Two 20 feet containers can be installed on the upper deck (level 1)

AUMS (Autonomous Underway Measurement System): An elaborate “ferrybox” system for measuring physical, biological and chemical seawater properties (temperature, conductivity, salinity, dissolved oxygen, pH, turbidity, chlorophyll, algae classes, fluorescence, dissolved organic matter, pCO2, etc.) with position-controlled automatic water sampler.

See: https://odnature.naturalsciences.be/belgica/en/equipment

CTD/Plankton sampling:

CTD equipment: Sea-Bird SBE19 CTD (2x), Sea-Bird SBE9plus CTD (2x), Sea-Bird SBE21 thermosalinograph (2x)

Water sampling equipment: Sea-Bird model 32 carousel for 12 10 liter Niskin bottles (2x), Various Niskin and Go-Flo water sampling bottles

Various plankton nets can be deployed.

Multi-Beam(s)/ Sub Bottom profiling:

Kongsberg EM3002D shallow water multibeam echosounder system

Fisheries Echo Sounders/Sonar:

Kongsberg EA400 with 33, 38 and 210 kHz transducer


Over the side system can be installed

Coring/Sampling Capabilities:

Coring systems up to 5 m length (gravity & vibro), box corers, etc.


* Telescopic crane:  Effer Marine 44.000-3 ton/1 m SWL;

* Net winch: 14.8 tons outer layer, capacity 7 m³;

* A-frame aft: H 5.9 m, W 5.0 m, capacity 2 x 6 tons;

* A-frame SB: H 3.0 m, W 1.3 m, capacity 1.0 ton;

* Davit SB: H 1.8 m, outboard 2.5 m, capacity 0.5 ton;

* 2 Fisheries winches: 8 tons, 6.4 tons at 60 m/min;

* Oceanographic single drum winch: 365 kg at 60 m/min, 1000 m (RVS) cable 5 mm;

* Oceanographic double drum winch: 365 kg at 60 m/min 1000 m (RVS) cable 5 mm and 1 700 m coaxial 6.45 mm STD profiling cable.


VSAT: KU Band 512 Kbps up/256 down CIR, burstable to 1536/768 Kbps

Special features:

ICOS AUMS underway system

Ability to switch from direct diesel propulsion to silent electrical propulsion

Suitable for:

Suitable for all kinds of research campaign from the shelf (10 m water depth) to the shelf slope (1500 m water depth):

  • Oceanographic surveys
  • Fishery surveys
  • ROV & AUV surveys
  • Geologic incl. seismic survey
  • Biological surveys
  • Hydrographic surveys
  • Chemistry surveys
Scientific Limitations:

The ship is limited for operations up to 1500 m water depth. Due to the size restrictions large workhorse ROV deployments can’t be performed

Vessel capability to support ROV deployment:

Smaller ROV types have been deployed successfully (e.g. VLIZ ROV Genesis)

Support Offered to EurofleetsPlus Users:

All vessel equipment will be made available to EurofleetsPlus Users on request.  Technical support on vessel equipment will be available during the entire survey.

Vessel availability by location and by year/time of year for Eurofleets+:



Availability by Month

Ports of operation in the period of availability


Normal operation areas (65N – 32N & 15W – 15E)




See RV Belgica II

See RV Belgica II

See RV Belgica II


See RV Belgica II

See RV Belgica II

See RV Belgica II

Contact Details

Applicants are welcomed to discuss the initial feasibility of their work while they prepare their application with the operator of RV  Belgica at e-mail address: Lieven.Naudts@naturalsciences.be

Medical certification required for joining the vessel and the list of acceptable certificates.

No certification required. Any possible health issues should be discussed prior to the campaign with the Coordinator RV Belgica and the Commander RV Belgica.

Are additional medical checks required

No medical checks required. Any possible health issues should be discussed prior to the campaign with the Coordinator RV Belgica and the Commander RV Belgica.

Survival training certification required for joining vessel

List of acceptable equivalent certification:

No certification requirements.

Additional certification required e.g. Ship security awareness / other

No certification requirements.

Diplomatic clearance required for area of operation

Yes, for operation in neighbouring EEZ’s e.g. UK, France, Netherlands, Spain, Ireland (and others as applicable).  Required to be submitted to MSO@naturalsciences.be  6 months prior to cruise

Additional clearances required for area or type of activity

Requirements for other jurisdictions to be addressed via the diplomatic clearance process.

RV Belgica is a multipurpose oceanographic & fisheries research vessel built in 1984. She will be replaced at the end of 2020 by RV Belgica II.

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