RV Simon Stevin
RV Simon Stevin: a multidisciplinary coastal research vessel
The RV Simon Stevin performs coastal oceanographic research in the Southern Bight of the North Sea and in the eastern part of the English Channel. It also serves as training platform for students from marine scientific and maritime studies and as a test platform for new marine and maritime technologies. Pupils and students from primary and secondary schools are offered the opportunity to step onboard for educational excursions.
The vessel sails under Belgian flag and the harbor of registry is Ostend. The RV Simon Stevin mainly performs one-day journeys, but multiple-day voyages can be scheduled as well.
The Simon Stevin serves a broad scale of marine scientific research. In Flanders, marine research is performed at universities and public scientific institutes. The research is multidisciplinary reaching from physical oceanography, fisheries research, marine biology, microbiology, chemistry, technology, archeology to geography, geophysics and geology.
General technical information
The vessel has a length of 36 m, a width of 9.4 m and a draught of 3.5 m. The ship corresponds to the needs of multiple marine research areas; it is equipped with all standard sampling equipment and with high technological hydro-acoustic devices that allow current measurements (Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler) and characterization of the bottom (multibeam). The sensors are mounted in a blister situated behind the bow of the vessel. A highly accurate positioning of the vessel is assured by the dynamic positioning- and steering system. A diesel-electric propulsion allows sailing as a ‘silent ship’, an optimal condition for the hydro-acoustic measurements. [Find more detailed information on Simon Stevin specifications or in the RV Simon Stevin brochure.]
Management, operability, construction & funding
The Simon Stevin entered the harbor of Ostend for the first time on 25 May 2012, exactly five years after the first technical meeting on the potential construction of a new oceanographic research vessel for Flanders. The intermediate course was successful thanks to the funding of the Flemish Government and thanks to the good cooperation between VLOOT dab (shipowner and -operator of the Flemish Government) and VLIZ (responsible for the scientific program and the management of the sampling equipment). During this five-year process VLOOT dab and VLIZ succeeded to find a good balance between the needs of the marine research society and the technical possibilities. The good understanding between VLOOT dab and VLIZ was rendered permanent with the new cooperation agreement to employ the research vessel Simon Stevin in a future oriented framework.
The RV Simon Stevin was built by ‘Damen Shipyards Group’ with the Dutch ‘Damen Shipyards Gorinchem’ as main contractor and in cooperation with ‘Maaskant Shipyards’ (NL) and ‘Damen Shipyards Galatz’ (RO).
The cost of the vessel was 11.5 million euro (including VAT) and 1 million euro was spent on scientific equipment.
Milestones for funding
Why replace the research vessel Zeeleeuw?
10 December 2007: the Flemish government announces their plans to finance the building of the new Flemish research vessel Simon Stevin.
2008: For the construction of the Simon Stevin, 7 million euro was allocated from the FFEU-means (Financing Fund for Debt Reduction and One Off Investment Expenses) and made available by the Department of Economy, Science and Innovation from the Flemish government.
25 August 2010: the Flemish government gives her final approval for the Simon Stevin and the order to start the construction is granted to the Dutch shipbuilder ‘Damen Shipyards Gorinchem.
The RV Zeeleeuw was constructed in 1977 as a pilot boat and refitted to serve as a research vessel in 2000. After more than 10 years of service, there was a need for a modern, well equipped vessel, with a restricted draught needed for an optimal accessibility to shallow coastal waters of the Southern Bight of the North Sea and the surrounding estuaries.
The need for a new research vessel was the main outcome of a survey commissioned by the Flemish Department of Economy, Science & Innovation and organized in 2005 by VLIZ organized among the Flemish marine researchers . Over 500 marine researchers completed the online questionnaire. They expressed their point of view of the existing and the future needs of ship time and infrastructure: the sampling area, the frequency of usage, the requirements of the ship, the necessary sampling devices, measuring instruments and infrastructure.
Why the name ‘Simon Stevin’?
Simon Stevin, born in Bruges in 1548, migrated around the age of 30 to the Northern Netherlands and became friend and councilor of Maurits Prince of Orange and played as such a major role in the economic development of the Northern Netherlands. He always kept signing his work with the autograph ‘Simon Stevin from Brugghe’.
Stevin was a brilliant mathematician, very talented in applying his theoretical knowledge to solve all kinds of problems in architecture, hydraulics, geodesy, military fortification, etc. He was a pioneer in translating all his findings in the vernacular language, and in inventing new words for all sorts of technical terms. He was an advocate of the use of the decimal system for coins, length-, surface and volume measures. As intellectual do-it-all he had many maritime and hydraulic merits. He published on sluices, embankment constructions, dredging techniques and pumping systems and he designed the sailing-car.
Have a look at pictures and movies of the RV Simon Stevin in our photo gallery.
Contact persons for the Simon Stevin:
Have a look at the RV Simon Stevin promotional video.
dr. André Cattrijse
VLIZ, Wandelaarkaai 7, 8400 Oostende
tel. + 32 (0)59 34 21 39
mobile + 32 (0)474 83 51 02
ir. Piet Leeuwerck
Vloot DAB, Winston Churchillkaai 2, 8400 Oostende