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Abu Dhabi designs advanced research vessel to protect marine life, boost fish stocks

Published: Updated:

The Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi (EAD) is developing the region’s most advanced marine research vessel, which will help protect marine biodiversity and enhance fish stocks in Abu Dhabi.

Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler's Representative in Al Dhafra Region, who is also the Chairman of the Board of Directors of EAD, announced the building of the Middle East's most advanced research vessel as part of EAD’s ongoing commitment towards protecting the environment and the marine biodiversity in Abu Dhabi and the overall UAE marine ecosystem.

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The vessel will be built by FRIERE Shipyard in Vigo, Spain, with Abu Dhabi Shipbuilding managing the build in support of the EAD team.

Design of the ship commenced in January 2021 and it is scheduled to arrive in Abu Dhabi in December 2022.

As EAD’s representative for the project, Abu Dhabi Ship Building will be responsible for management of the design and supervision of the build in Vigo, Spain, with the first steel being cut on the vessel in June 2021.

The initial sea trial will be carried out in Vigo in late 2022 with Gulf condition trials taking place after the voyage of the ship to Abu Dhabi.

Specialized research

The state-of-the-art, multipurpose marine conservation and fisheries vessel will use environment-friendly technologies in conducting specialized research.

Sheikh Hamdan in the official statement on Monday noted the resounding success “we have achieved with the dramatic improvement of fish stock numbers in Abu Dhabi waters.”

“The addition of a new cutting edge, scientific research vessel to lead our marine research is a momentous achievement that will enable us to monitor and conserve our fish stocks and marine biodiversity, in addition to fostering the passion of our young Emirati marine scientists for years to come. I am excited about the addition of a new multi-purpose research vessel to pioneer our oceanographic and fisheries research in our deeper waters,” he said.

Operating in the UAE’s waters of the Arabian Gulf, Arabian Sea, and further afield, the 50 meter vessel will enable EAD to complete new scientific marine and fisheries studies in the previously largely unstudied waters 10m and deeper.

The vessel, which will be manned by up to 30 personnel, will have integrated functions to complete comprehensive marine and fisheries surveys. (WAM)
The vessel, which will be manned by up to 30 personnel, will have integrated functions to complete comprehensive marine and fisheries surveys. (WAM)



It will be designed to accommodate state-of-the-art research equipment which will include five laboratories to process samples on vessel, a remotely occupied vehicle and SCUBA diving functionality and built for the conditions of the region – where the Arabian Gulf being shallow and with high salinity.

The vessel, which will be manned by up to 30 personnel, will have integrated functions to complete comprehensive marine and fisheries surveys, including deepwater marine ecological baseline surveys; fisheries resources assessment surveys; deep-water habitat surveys of coral and seagrasses; marine water and sediment quality; and megafauna surveys of the likes of cetaceans – dolphins; dugongs, and turtles.

The vessel will also enable EAD to respond to the threats facing the marine environment including marine debris, climate change, and invasive marine species. It will also be able to assess marine sites and habitats and environmental rehabilitation perspective, in addition to other marine studies.

Read more: Iran, UAE hold routine coast guard meeting regarding fishing zones