The National Academy of Marine Research yesterday announced a deal to open an ocean research branch in Keelung, as well as plans to construct three research vessels.
The branch at National Taiwan Ocean University (NTOU) would be the academy’s first research unit outside of Kaohsiung. The academy was established under the Ocean Affairs Council in April last year.
After signing a memorandum of understanding with the university’s Center of Excellence for the Oceans, academy president Chiu Yung-fang (邱永芳) said in a news release yesterday that the two institutions would collaborate on long-term monitoring of marine ecology and on a database.
Photo copied by Hung Ting-hung, Taipei Times
They plan to conduct joint research on the effects of environmental changes on marine ecology, deep-sea biodiversity and marine energy development, as well as collaborate on seismic surveys, the remote sensing of seawater by satellite and research vessel support, the academy said.
During its preparatory stage, the academy only had two or three researchers, but it has recruited more than 30 researchers from universities, the Academia Sinica and the Taiwan Ocean Research Institute (TORI), academy vice president Lin Ying-pin (林英斌) said.
The academy must still work with various schools to strengthen its capabilities, he added.
A plan to obtain research vessels from the TORI or other research institutions fell through, but the academy hopes to build its own fleet of vessels, Lin said.
The academy was dissuaded from constructing an 8,000-tonne research vessel for promoting research projects in the Arctic and other remote areas, he said, adding that many experts said it was too costly and would require too much maintenance.
“The plan is to construct three research vessels — 4,000 tonnes, 300 tonnes and 100 tonnes — for about NT$2 billion [US$69.02 million],” he said.
If the Executive Yuan approves the shipbuilding in time, it could start in 2022, he added.
The nation’s largest research vessels are the TORI’s 2,629-tonne Legend and the 2,155-tonne New Ocean Researcher 1 operated by National Taiwan University’s Institute of Oceanography.
Competition is not the motivation for a bigger ship, but the ambition to conduct research in more remote areas, Lin added.
This story has been amended since it was first published.
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