Donation RV Zeeleeuw to Kenya – first oceanographic research vessel East African coast | Flanders Marine Institute
 

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Donation RV Zeeleeuw to Kenya – first oceanographic research vessel East African coast

Added on 2013-05-15
On the 3rd of May, 2013, the handover of the RV Zeeleeuw to the Republic of Kenya became a fact. The oceanographic research vessel of the Flemish Government will now sail under the Kenyan flag and will be named RV Mtafiti, Swahili for ‘researcher’. An appropriate name, since RV Zeeleeuw has served Belgian and international marine researchers in the southern bight of the North Sea, for thirteen years. Also in Kenya the ship will continue to serve marine research and will be managed by the Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute (KMFRI).







The donation of the vessel fell within a new collaboration between Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ) and KMFRI. On 19 October 2012 the two institutes signed a formal Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for bilateral collaboration in the field of marine sciences. [Photo].

It was the governor of West-Flanders and president of VLIZ, Carl Decaluwé, who suggested that the donation of the research vessel to Kenya would be a logical first step for this collaboration. The Flemish Minister for Mobility and Public Works, Hilde Crevits, agreed and the vessel was offered to the Kenyan government. By the end of November 2012, a Kenyan delegation of the Kenyan Government (Ministry of Fisheries) arrived to conduct a technical inspection of the research vessel. Their final report stated that the vessel was in good technical condition upon which the Kenyan Government officially accepted the donation. [Photo]

The 3rd of May, 2013 the final documents for the handover of the vessel were signed by Mr. Mutua Kilaka (Financial Secretary for the Kenyan Ministry of Finance). [Foto]. The Kenyan delegation expressed their great enthusiasm on receiving this oceanographic research vessel, the first ever at the East-African coast and elaborated on all the benefits this ship has to offer to marine research in the Western Indian Ocean.

Within the frame of the MoU, VLIZ will coordinate and facilitate the translocation of the vessel, cooperate in all scientific operations such as providing and placing scientific instruments on board of the ship, training IT staff, scientific assistants, students, etc. The research vessel itself will further strengthen the cooperation between Belgium and Kenya in the field of marine research, technology and education.

Until the end of May 2013, the elected Kenyan captain and engineer and the RV Mtafiti will be prepared for sailing. If all goes well, the RV Mtafiti should leave the harbor of Ostend and set sail to Mombasa via the Suez Canal mid-June 2013. The journey should take approximately 33 days, with the arrival at the harbor of Mombasa around mid-July 2013 where the research vessel will receive a great welcome ceremony to fit this milestone in marine research at the West-Indian coast.




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