Crown Princess Elisabeth christens research vessel Belgica

Belgian Crown Princess Elisabeth officially christened the oceanographic research vessel Belgica in Ghent on Saturday. Shortly after 4 pm, she smashed a bottle against the bow of the scientific showpiece, which will carry out marine research with advanced technology in the coming decades. The ceremony took place in the Belgica's godfather city of Ghent.

The new Belgica left on a mission to the Mediterranean Sea in April, after a first visit to the ship by King Philip. Its construction cost 54 million euros. The vessel is equipped with the latest scientific equipment, such as a dynamic positioning system which can bring the ship to a halt with an accuracy of half a metre - a considerable advantage when taking soil samples. The Belgica is also quieter than its predecessor, which causes less disturbance at sea, important for studying marine animals.

The RV Belgica will play a key role in Belgian and European marine research in the coming decades. Thanks to the new ship, marine scientists will be able to continue and expand their multi-day or multi-week expeditions in Belgian waters and beyond.

The Belgian State, represented by the Federal Science Policy Office (BELSPO), is the owner of the vessel. The Royal Belgian Institute for Natural Sciences (KBIN) will manage the ship in cooperation with the Ministry of Defence and a private operator.




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