In Portugal, the available monitoring capacity is insufficient to comply with requirements of MSFD along with necessities imposed by other international commitments assumed. Physical and technological conditions of the vessel N/I Noruega have become extremely outdated. The project objective is the acquisition of an oceangoing vessel equipped with dynamic positioning, fit to perform multidisciplinary marine research mainly in the Atlantic Ocean, allowing the completion of programme area objective: Improve monitoring of marine waters. The expected outcome is the acquisition of a multi-purpose survey vessel equipped for ROV and haleutic operations. Beneficiary target groups will be the Portuguese Sea and Athmosphere Institute (IPMA), national and international academia and research institutions; public administration; NGO’s; private sector enterprises in cooperation with public entities and public and private schools. Donor project partner is the Norwegian Institute for Marine Research (IMR) which will assist in creating the conditions for accomplishment of project objectives.
Summary of project results
In Portugal, the available capacity is insufficient. No single existing Portuguese vessel is able to perform the required tasks and actions in an effective and efficient integrated manner. The present day MSFD monitoring needs, as well as the requirements of modern marine R&D, imply that she has to be replaced by a modern, more versatile and operational vessel. The objectives of the project comprised the acquisition of oceangoing vessel equipped with dynamic positioning, fit to perform multidisciplinary marine research mainly in the Atlantic Ocean, from coastal areas to deep-sea domains. The vessel should have the capacity to perform Halieutic and marine environmental research. These comprise, on the operational level, the capacity to perform: ROV LUSO operations, trawling, shipborne monitoring activities, the installation and servicing of long term in situ monitoring facilities, amongst others. All Objectives of the predefined project will be fulfilled. The main project outcome was the completion of the acquisition of a new research vessel to the IPMA. Despite all efforts by project promoter the initial timeline for project completion suffered a significant delay. Main contributing factors were: intrinsic complexities in the public procurement stages and in the contracting phases; the issuing of an unexpected third international; delays in transformation works due to lengthy approval process of the transformation drawings by Lloyds register class, and project material execution by the shipyard and its subcontractors. Works are now proceeding at the right pace and ship is due to be delivered early 02/2018. The major project output is the vessel N/I Mar Portugal which is fully operational, but being upgraded in its research capacity. In 2018 and in the long term, the vessel will be able to sustain IPMA oceangoing initiatives and mission, and will be available to the Portuguese and International Scientific Communities. It will be committed to support the Atlantic International Research Center (AIR-C), the Azores Atlantic Observatory and the European Monitoring Submarine Observatories (EMSO), installation and servicing. The vessel will be a part of the European Eurofleets infrastructure (Eurofleets III proposal in preparation). Further, agreements are being setup with the Nautical School (ENIDH) to allow for the vessel to be used as a professional training platform for merchant marine officers. Finally she will be a tool for scientific international cooperation with EU countries, Portuguese Speaking countries and Norway in ocean related research.
Summary of bilateral results
IPMA researchers, have had numerous peer to peer relations with researchers of the Marine Research Institute in the past. The development of the EEA program has led to a definitive strengthening of the institutional relations between both national institutes, widening of the number and depth of scientific research. The cooperation program was consolidated in a Memorandum of Understanding signed by both institutions. Since, several joint workshops, participation on IPMA technicians and researchers on IMR cruises and short term internships, participation of IMR researchers in IPMA projects and joint participation on H2020 calls have been achieved. The main activities arising from this relationship were supported by the EEA bilateral fund. In what concerns PT02-PDP1 project, the cooperation achieved with the IMR - Norwegian Project partner, was critical for the success of the project. The role played by IMR comprised prospecting the second hand ship market in Norway and abroad, providing advice about the market conditions and technical specifications of ships available. Furthermore, IMR, through its ship division, assisted and reviewed the technical specifications of the international tender for the purchase of the vessel. Upon vessel selection, IMR, assisted in the inspection of vessel conditions and maintenance before purchase contract signature. IMR has evaluated and contributed to the feasibility study for ship transformation to fisheries and ROV operations, and further assisted on the technical specifications for the heavy duty gear, comprising winches, cranes, A-frame, netdrum and other ancillary winches, which were submitted to international tender.