Hull Mounted Scientific Equipment

Mário Ruivo

Promoter: IPMA - Portuguese Institute for Sea and Atmosphere


Institute of Marine Research

EEA Grants: 1.700.000,00

Total Amount: 2.000.000,00


In the scope of the implementation of “PDP1 - Acquisition and Fitting of a Dynamic Positioning (DP) Vessel Equipped with Marine Surveying Equipment”, under the program European Economic Area Financial Mechanism, EEA Grants 2009-2014 (Portugal), IPMA acquired the ocean-going research vessel (RV) Mar Portugal. The vessel undertook significant transformations that allowed the fulfilment of predefined project objectives and became a new platform to conduct research on the Atlantic Ocean to the service of the national and international S&T community, contributing to increase scientific knowledge, leading to more informed policies and improving the management of the maritime space and its resources.

The new vessel (currently under the name Mário Ruivo) design enables the use of the 6000m depth Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) Luso, high precision operations both near-shore and in open ocean conditions, dry and wet laboratories for several disciplines and namely fishing research operations.

Despite the improvement, RV Mário Ruivo would benefit greatly with tools in what concerns habitat mapping, acoustic oceanographic monitoring and research, or interaction with seafloor and water column observatories. These tools would improve the robustness of studies related with the application of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive, demersal studies using bottom trawls or more sophisticated fishery acoustics.

To optimize the acquisition of oceanographic data during ship operations, we need to install a set of hull-mounted sensors that will provide new capacities for the research vessel:

  • hull mounted Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP) for continuous oceanographic measurements,
  • swath bathymetry system for detailed seafloor mapping,
  • multi-frequency acoustics to better estimate biomass and distribution of mesopelagic and epipelagic fishes or macrozooplankon, and
  • sub-bottom profiler to image the seafloor.

Additionally, the upgrade of an existing acoustic underwater acoustic system can provide easier communications with the ROV Luso and the new generation of deep seafloor observatories.

This investment is timely because all adaptations of the research vessel are completed and have been extensively tested. The new investment gives to the Portuguese research community the access to an oceanic vessel with an even larger scope of research activities, promoting optimization of resources and multi-disciplinary research cruises.