Ireland’s future marine research vessel to honour famed explorer

Photo: Marine Institute

The Marine Institute of Ireland has confirmed that its newest research vessel will be named Tom Crean.

The vessel’s namesake is a renowned Irish seaman and explorer who undertook three major expeditions to the Antarctic in the early years of the 20th century with the goal of seeking to increase scientific knowledge and to explore unreached areas of the world at that time.

A native of Annascaul in County Kerry, Crean volunteered for Sir Robert Falcon Scott’s Discovery expedition in 1901 and for his Terra Nova expedition in 1910. During the Terra Nova expedition, Crean made an 18-hour solo journey in desperate conditions to save the life of a fellow crewmember and was awarded the Albert Medal for his acts of heroism.

In 1914, Crean joined Sir Ernest Shackleton on the Endurance expedition and, again, he proved himself to be a much trusted crew member and someone capable of great endurance and heroism.

The new marine research vessel will provide a year-round service for expanded fisheries surveys, seabed mapping, deep water surveys, and research activities in the Atlantic Ocean. It will enable 300 operational days at sea each year, and up to 3,000 scientist days per year.

The new 52.8-metre modern research vessel, which will replace the 31-metre Celtic Voyager, has been commissioned with funding provided by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine approved by the Government of Ireland.

The construction of the new national research vessel continues on schedule in 2021 at a total build cost of €25 million (US$29.9 million), with the build process expected to be completed by the summer of 2022.

Spanish shipyard Armon was awarded the contract to build the new vessel in 2019, following the completion of the design by Norwegian naval architects Skipsteknisk.

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