New research vessel begins to take shape

At the end of last year, the University of Gothenburg ordered a new research vessel. Now, one year on, the vessel is beginning to take shape in the Gdynia shipyard in Poland. In a little under one year – that is to say, in the autumn of 2015 – the research vessel is expected to be ready.

It was at the start of September this year that the first steel plate was cut. The process is called steel-cutting, and it means that the vessel is complete in terms of construction. The first steel plates cut were 8 millimetres thick and approximately 20 square metres in size, and are to be placed on the bottom in the fore part of the ship.

“The steel-cutting was a milestone in the construction process. It is proof that we have now begun to construct the vessel and that we have working designs that have been approved,” says project manager Anders Backman of the University of Gothenburg.

The next milestone is the laying of the keel, which is a legacy of the traditional form of shipbuilding.

“These days one can construct vessels with great precision, and therefore they are built in sections that can then be joined together to form a complete vessel.” Despite this, the laying of the keel still has great significance. The date for laying the keel is essential for knowing which legislation applies to the ready-built vessel.


R/V Skagerak. Illustration: Ulf Sveningsson


The last milestone before the vessel is ready is its launching. It will be launched and towed to a fitting-out dock where most of the assembly is then done.

On delivery, it will have the best available technology and be one of the most modern of its kind in Europe.
“The vessel will, for instance, have enough capacity to make a variety of measurements at the same time that it will store data on board. One result of this is that the researchers will be given fresh opportunities to tailor the different measurements they want to carry out,” Anders Backman says.