Atlantic Explorer, a marine research vessel with the capability of launching deep-sea submersibles and ROV's sets sail from St. George, Bermuda. Photo: Andrew Murgatroyd
On November 6th, the Times Colonist's Sarah Petrescu examines a report with some intriguing, yet maybe not surprising results.
"The report, Ocean Science in Canada: Meeting the challenge, seizing the opportunity asses the state of ocean science in Canada…" and finds "a lack of national vision for ocean science and a lack of co-ordination among (research organizations)" noting that the research fleet is all but finished (Petrescu). The report itself admits "maintaining research vessel capacity, including the age of the fleet and access for non-DFO researchers, is a key challenge for ocean science infrastructure in Canada."
The difficulty of finding the funding for research vessels is not terribly surprising since traditional research vessel can cost upwards of $30,000 per day for a large scale ocean going diesel devouring rust bucket. Perhaps what the future of marine research lies within the elegant, slow but steady sailboat. Pangaea Exploration's sailing vessel Sea Dragon operates for a fraction of that cost due to its unique long-range sailing ability. The savings, however, come at a cost; although Sea Dragon is a relatively cheap research platform, it is mainly used for collecting samples which are then processed back in the lab of the participating university or government body. It also can't launch submarines off it's deck. That being said, a lot can be learned from a well planned study with simple objectives and a dedicated crew.
Link: Canada’s ocean-research leadership at risk: study
Link: Ocean Science in Canada: Meeting the challenge, seizing the opportunity