Research vessels are seagoing vessels which carry out and fulfill a very important need for conducting research on the oceans of the world. They provide information which is used to prepare detailed analyses and studies of the ocean and the environment on the ocean floor, for various specific purposes. The construction of research vessel is therefore generally customized according to the specific type of tasks they will be carrying out, although it can be said that there is a point of commonality in that all research vessels are generally equipped to withstand the worst possible conditions at sea.
Research vessel purposes
There are a number of different purposes that research vessels can be used for, because there is a vast array of potential information to be gathered from data provided by the world’s oceans. Some of the more common purposes for which research vessels are commissioned include oil exploration, oceanographic research, naval or defense research, fisheries and marine life research, seismic surveys, polar research, and hydrographic surveys.
Many research vessels are continuously employed in the polar regions of the earth, because these are the areas for which the least information is available, and they’re the regions where the most information is needed. Any research vessel which routinely conducts polar expeditions will have to be outfitted with ice-breaking hulls, and must also be prepared for the most extreme weather conditions.
In some cases, research vessels are used to conduct thorough analyses of marine life forms which occur in the various zones of oceans around the world. These type of research vessels must be equipped with specific piscatorial equipment which will aid in the research process.
Oil and gas exploration
Another very common usage of research vessels is to use them to explore offshore oil and gas regions, so that information can be obtained on reservoirs which may be situated beneath the ocean floor. Research of this nature is essential for determining where to situate excavation platforms and riggings, so as to successfully extract the oil or gas beneath.
Maritime defense and detection
In some situations, research vessels can even be used in support of national security for any nation. Because of the sophisticated equipment that they carry, research vessels are capable of determining whether any kind of security breach has occurred at sea. It is also possible for such advanced research vessels to identify the potential for a seagoing invasion by any belligerent nation, and this can provide priceless timely data which would allow the sponsoring nation to react. Truthfully, this cannot be said to be one of the more common uses of research vessels, but since they carry advanced detection equipment, it is a purpose for which they are well-suited.
Other uses for research vessels
There are also some fairly unspectacular uses for research vessels, which involve researching oceanic weather and tidal conditions, as well as monitoring oceanic water features, and studying trends in seismology of underwater geography. The fishing industry also makes regular use of research vessels, so they can conduct water sampling and so they can determine the health of fish species and the general marine life population in any given area.
Today’s research vessels have become extremely sophisticated, and are well equipped to carry out the tasks which they were built for. It is likely that in future years, research vessels will become even more capable, and will carry even more sophisticated equipment than they currently do. This will allow organizations which make use of such research vessels to obtain information more easily, and to obtain more accurate information about conditions in the world’s oceans.