Portugal is a coastal nation with a large marine area under its jurisdiction. It is thus of importance for the country to secure good environmental standard in the marine and coastal waters. The available monitoring capacity is insufficient to comply with new technological development and requirements imposed by international commitments. The physical and technological equipment of the vessel N/I Noruega, which has been in use up until now, have become outdated.
The acquisition of an oceangoing vessel equipped with dynamic positioning will allow the completion of marine research mainly in the Atlantic Ocean, from the coastal areas to the more deep-sea regions. The dynamic positioning vessel will mainly be used in fisheries research and operations aimed at environmental research. This will increase the monitoring capacity of the marine waters, and secure sound management of the coastal environment in Portugal.
‘Mar Portugal’ has arrived in Portugal
The vessel, ‘Mar Portugal’, arrived in Lisbon in late October, and was welcomed by the Portuguese Minister for Agriculture and Sea, Assunção Christas, the Portuguese State Secretary for the Sea, Manuel Pinto de Abreu, representatives from the Norwegian Embassy in Lisbon, the National Focal Point and other entities involved in the implementation of the project.
"The vessel will allow the accommodation of about 30 investigators plus crew, and will be well-equipped for oceanographic research," said Minister Christas. The minister stressed that, despite the vessel being managed by the Portuguese Sea and Atmosphere Institute (IPMA), the aim is to involve the entire national scientific community in the management of Portuguese marine and coastal waters.
The vessel is now being prepared for operation – and equipped with marine surveying equipment.
The project is run by the Portuguese Sea and Atmosphere Institute, and has received a grant of almost €11 million from Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the Portuguese ‘Integrated Marine and Coastal Waters Management’ programme. Norwegian Institute of Marine Research is a partner in the project, and has assisted IPMA in the definition of the platform technical specifications and vessel selection process following the international tender. The two institutions will continue to collaborate on a number of scientific areas in the future.
Largest programme in Portugal
Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway have made available €19.2 million to improve and increase Portugal’s capacity to ensure sound environmental management and monitoring of the marine and coastal areas through the Portuguese ‘Integrated Marine and Coastal Waters Management’ programme. That makes it the largest EEA Grants programme in Portugal.
From 16 to 19 November, the 3rd Portugal Atlantic Conference, co-organised by the Director General for Maritime Policy (DGPM) and Fórum Oceano, is taking place in Matosinhos. In a joint action with the 5th edition of the Sea Forum, the conference aims to create useful synergies for the maritime community and celebrate the National Day of the Sea on 16 November. Parts of the conference programme is dedicated to the Portuguese ‘Integrated marine and coastal waters management’ programme, which will be discussed in eight panels consisting of national and international experts. Ten projects under the programme will be presented under the theme ‘Potential for growth and internationalization of the sea economy’, including the acquisition and fitting of the new dynamic position vessel ‘Mar Portugal’ equipped with marine surveying equipment.