On the 28th of October 2016, the Ministerial Council agreed to replace the research vessel RV Belgica, after a proposal by Secretary of State for Science Policy Elke Sleurs and Secretary of State for the North Sea Philippe De Backer.
The RV Belgica has contributed to the development and the international reputation of the Belgian marine scientific research and is still an essential infrastructure for the research community. Because the ship has reached the maximum lifetime (it was built in 1984), we need a structural solution for the replacement of the ship.
According to the Belgian press centre, the Ministerial Council authorises the Secretary of State for Science Policy and the Minister of Defence to prepare a public contract for the supply of a new research vessel and to submit the specifications for approval to the Ministers. They also take further steps to formalise the cooperation for the management of the new ship.
So this is good news!