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Great Britain commissions an 85m oceanographic vessel from Freire

The National Environment Research Council (NERC) will substitute the current "RSS Discovery" with this ship. The scientific vessel will be the largest ever made in the harbour, at 98m in length and capable of carrying 52 researchers. The British Government has awarded Vigo shipyard "Construcciones Navales P. Freire" with the construction of this oceanographic vessel which will be gigantic - at least compared to the norm at shipyards in Vigo Harbour, where Spain's own scientific fleet has been the usual destination - at 98 metres in length and a total cost of "85m (about £75m sterling).

The contract was signed on 29th March. According to the UK National Environment Research Council, owners of the new floating laboratory, the new vessel will replace the veteran RSS Discovery and inherit its name.
Construction will likely begin on the ship in 2011 for, at present, the Vigo shipyard already has two prior contracts to fulfil. These are, in fact, two oceanographic vessels, that are rather less ambitious than the one for Britain's Research Council. One is for Qatar and the other for Luxembourg. The future ship, to carry the British flag and be built in Vigo, will join the RRS James Cook, which is well known as one of the flagships of oceanographic research for the Government in London.
The National Environment Research Council includes the National Oceanography Centre, which has its operational base in the port of Southampton.
The vessel has been conceived as a multi-function unit, following the latest trends for this type of ship, that is, it will have high-capacity echo sounder equipment for discovering the ocean bed as well as pure and combined oceanographic technology for fisheries use. The owners tend to include systems of all types in order to make the vessel as profitable as possible and will be fitted out to allow up to 52 scientists on board.
It is not yet known when work will begin at the Vigo shipyard on the construction of this complex vessel.

London trusts Vigo technology.
The vessel will cost a total of £75m sterling, that is, "85m. It is likely to be one of the largest oceanographic vessels to be constructed in Vigo harbour, at 98 metres, and will help to attract new projects.

First scientific vessel for an Arab country.
Last year, the University of Qatar awarded C.N.P. Freire with the construction of a multi-function oceanographic vessel of almost 40 metres in length. The scientific vessel is predicted to be delivered in April 2011.

The vessel "Gamboa" opened the door to the international market.
Receiving patronage from Queen Sophia in 2005, the vessel Sarmiento de Gamboa is, beyond doubt, one of the jewels in the crown of the Spanish research fleet. It was the first to carry aboard and deploy autonomous submarine robots, including the Victor 6000, of French design, which placed a flag on the sea floor bearing the word "¡Olé!", as proof of how far Spanish marine research has already come.

Thanks to the technological vanguard of the Gamboa, other countries have noticed it as a naval reference point. The National Environmental Research Council cites in its information that one of the motives for awarding their vessel to Freire was that the shipyard had been previously contracted to build vessels such as the Sarmiento de Gamboa for the Consjeo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas (CSIC - the Spanish Scientific Research Council), and the more recently commissioned one for the University of Qatar.
The shipyard's president, Mr. Jesús Freire, had already said as much when he was placing the keel on the Gamboa and stated that the contract would open up international doors for them, given its complexity. It has done so on several occasions, and this has been corroborated by Queen Sophia, who has set the shipyard on a good course.

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