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    Suggestions wanted for name for new Belgian research ship

    © 2018 Science Policy PPS
    The new research ship as it will look
    © 2018 Science Policy PPS

    Members of the public are being invited during the month of March to register their suggestions for a name for the new Belgian scientific research ship, due to replace the RV Belgica. The new research vessel (RV) will come into service at the end of 2020, the federal office for science policy said, and has to last for 30 years. The Belgica was constructed in 1984 and has served 35 years, and has reached retirement age.

    But for anyone who may have been thinking of voting for Boaty McBoatface, forget it. There are six names in the running: Belgica 2, BELSORA, IMPACT, Lab Mare, Odyssea and Stella Maris. At the beginning of the year, pupils from the first to fourth years of secondary school entered home-made videos to support the name chosen by their class. The six names above were selected for the second phase, which runs until 27 March.

    The class who proposed the winning name will be awarded a trip on the Belgica itself.

    Visit the online voting website (in Dutch, French and English) and cast your vote.

    Design of the new RV, by Freire Shipyards of Vigo, Spain and Rolls Royce Marine started in June last year and has now been completed. The photo shows a designer’s impression of what it will look like. Construction started last month in Vigo, and will be completed in October next year.

    The 1984 Belgica was the second of the name, after the vessel brought into service a century earlier, a steamship built in Norway originally as a whaling vessel. It was converted into a research ship in 1896 and the following year set off on a Belgian expedition to the Antarctic, where it became the first ship to stay over the polar winter.

    In 1984 the new Belgica was built in Temse on the banks of the Scheldt in East Flanders and went on, manned by naval personnel, to carry out oceanographic research, mainly in the North Sea, with a total of 900,000km on the clock to date.

    Alan Hope
    The Brussels Times