Tue, Nov 26, 2019 - Page 1 News List

Vice president inaugurates two ocean research ships

‘NEW ERA’:The two vessels are equipped with state-of-the-art instruments to measure current velocity and produce high-resolution images of the ocean floor

By Lin Chia-nan  /  Staff reporter

Vice President Chen Chien-jen, front row center, and Minister of Science and Technology Chen Liang-gee, fourth left, attend an inauguration ceremony for two new research vessels at shipbuilder CSBC Corp Taiwan’s Keelung Yard yesterday.

Photo: CNA

Vice President Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) yesterday inaugurated two new research vessels at CSBC Corp, Taiwan’s (CSBC, 台灣國際造船) Keelung Yard, saying that oceanography in the nation is entering a new era, with the government devoting more resources to the field.

Commissioned by the Ministry of Science and Technology, CSBC in January last year began building the R/V New Ocean Researcher 2 and R/V New Ocean Researcher 3 at a budget of NT$470 million (US$15.4 million) each.

The two 811-tonne vessels are to replace R/V Ocean Researcher II and R/V Ocean Researcher III, managed by National Taiwan Ocean University (NTOU) and National Sun Yat-sen University (NSYSU) respectively.

Oceanography in the nation is entering a new era with the inauguration of the new vessels, while the legislature earlier this month also passed the Ocean Basic Act (海洋基本法), aiming to bring people closer to the marine environment, Chen said.

Ocean research in Taiwan can be traced back about half a century when the nation took over a decommissioned US naval ship and renamed it the Chiu Lien (九連號), NSYSU vice president Chen Yang-yih (陳陽益) said, adding that Taiwan became increasingly competent over the years and developed its own facilities.

The new vessels were planned more than a decade ago, as the old ones have been in operation for more than 25 years and existing facilities are unable to satisfy research requirements, NTOU president Chang Ching-fong (張清風) said.

Taiwan should make better use of its edge in marine exploration and cultivate related talent, Chang said, expressing the hope that the government will devote more resources to supporting domestic oceanography.

The two new vessels are equipped with imported state-of-the-art instruments, including a multibeam echo sounder that can produce high-resolution images to map the sea floor; an acoustic Doppler current profiler that can measure current velocity; and a dynamic positioning system that can more precisely maintain a vessel’s position during a sampling mission at sea.

A third new research vessel — the 2,155-tonne R/V New Ocean Researcher 1 — is expected to be completed before the end of this year, Minister of Science and Technology Chen Liang-gee (陳良基) said.

Along with the 2,629-tonne R/V Legend (勵進) — which was launched last year and is operated by the National Applied Research Laboratories’ Taiwan Ocean Research Institute — the research vessels would allow oceanographers to plan more diverse expeditions further afield, he said.

Scientists are encouraged to engage in offshore wind farm engineering and underwater archeology, in addition to the existing disciplines of physical and chemical oceanography, as well as marine biology and geology, he added.

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