The VLIZ has two vessels that can be deployed in the Belgian part of the North Sea, tidal areas and rivers. The RV Simon Stevin is a 36-meter-long oceanographic research vessel and the RIB Zeekat is a 6.2-meter-long boat suitable for nearshore research. In addition, the VLIZ welcomes a new workboat in 2024, complementary to the RV Simon Stevin and the RIB Zeekat. All vessels can be requested through annual calls.
Multidisciplinary coastal research vessel Simon Stevin
The RV Simon Stevin (built 2012, cost 11.5 million euros) will be used for coastal oceanographic research and training of students from marine and maritime studies. In addition, the ship also tests new technologies. The ship sails under the Belgian flag and is registered in Ostend. Ten scientists can embark on day or multi-day trips. Up to twenty people can embark on educational trips. A cooperation agreement between VLOOT dab and the VLIZ ensures the scientific operations of the RV Simon Stevin. VLOOT dab, as owner of the research vessel, provides the crew, technical maintenance and bears all operational costs. The VLIZ is responsible for the scientific program and manages the RV Simon Stevin's scientific equipment. All features of the ship can be found in this technical sheet.
The MIDAS (Marine Information and Data Acquisition System) data system records all kinds of data ranging from navigation, meteorological to oceanographic data while underway. In addition, scientists log their research activities with this system. All data are stored a database.
The Zeekat (built 2017, cost €120 000) is 6.2 m long and 2.6 m wide. The Zeekat can be used on the Belgian part of the North Sea and tidal rivers and estuaries and is usually launched from a boat ramp. The boat's shallow draft (1m) allows it to take samples in shallow areas and its reinforced keel allows it to be grounded on tidal banks. The Zeekat can carry up to six people on board including one skipper. The VLIZ provides the skipper and is responsible for transporting the Zeekat.
VLIZ is currently having a new workboat built at Stormer Marine (cost about €600 000). This boat, to be delivered in early 2024, will be 11 m long and 3.7 m wide. The workboat will be equipped with a moonpool and an A-frame of up to 500 kg. Up to four scientists can comfortably conduct research on board during day trips. This workboat is intended for coastal proximity research, given its shallow draft of about 1 metre.