Australia’s ocean research ship open to Sydneysiders

RV Southern Surveyor is the only dedicated Australian research ship equipped to perform marine research in the offshore waters of Australia and Oceania. It is used by Australian universities, CSIRO and other research organisations and their international collaborators to improve our understanding of the marine environment.

Australia’s ocean territory is the third largest in the world and only five per cent of its seabed has been scientifically surveyed. Research data on fisheries, ecosystems, geology, oceanography and climatology acquired from the vessel contributes to climate modelling and prediction and the assessment, development and conservation of marine resources.

“The Marine National Facility conducts world-class scientific research within our Exclusive Economic Zone,” says the Chair of the Marine National Facility Steering Committee, Professor Craig Johnson.  “This year the ship has explored the climate history stored in deep-sea corals in Tasmania, mapped the habitat of deep-sea sharks off South Australia, discovered active submarine volcanoes in Fiji and deployed Tsunami warning buoys in the Tasman Sea.”

RV Southern Surveyor carries a scientific contingent of 15 and a crew of 14 to operate the vessel and deploy research equipment at depths of up to six kilometres, from the tropics to the subantarctic.
The Director of the Marine National Facility, Captain Fred Stein, says it is a rare opportunity to explore the ship. “Visitors will experience a behind-the-scenes tour of this fascinating multi-disciplinary research vessel,” he says. “The ship is equipped with state-of-the-art facilities that enable the oceanographic, climate, marine geology, fisheries and ecosystem studies needed to understand the influence of the oceans on our continent and to sustainably manage Australia’s marine resources.”

The Southern Surveyor is owned and managed by CSIRO, which operates it on behalf of the nation with funding provided by the Australian Government.

Guided tours run daily from 10am to 3pm and are limited to 10 people at a time.

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