Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research

Questions & Answers

Frequently Asked Questions (December 2022)

TENDER PROCEDURE RV Anna Weber-van Bosse

1. Why was a European tender chosen for the construction of RV Anna Weber-van Bosse?
The NWO-I/NIOZ, which commissioned the renewal of the research fleet, is subject to public tender and therefore legally obliged to issue European calls for tenders for goods and services in accordance with the applicable rules for amounts above the tender limit.

2. Which vessels of the New Research fleet are built in the Netherlands?
NWO-I/NIOZ put all three ships for the fleet renewal out to European tender, whereby the requirements were each drawn up in Dutch. Next Generation Shipyards in Lauwersoog has been awarded the contract for the construction of the RV Adriaen Coenen. And Thecla Bodewes Shipyards in Harlingen was chosen in the tender for the Wadden Sea and delta vessel RV Wim Wolff.

3. Why was a Spanish shipyard chosen for the RV Anna Weber-van Bosse?
Seven shipyards submitted tenders for the first phase of shipyard selection of the largest ocean-going ship, the RV Anna Weber-van Bosse. Five of these shipyards were selected for subsequent tender rounds, three Dutch shipyards and two yards elsewhere in Europe. In October 2022, the evaluation committee evaluated the bids on price, technical offer, sustainability, plan of action, project organisation and innovation. Astilleros Armon's tender proved to be the best bid overall. The assessment was based on the Programme of Requirements, as published in the original tender, a comprehensive inventory of the scientific and technical functional requirements of all conceivable Dutch stakeholders.

4. Would a Dutch shipyard contruct the ship in the Netherlands?
It is important to mention that for all European shipyards, including the Dutch, many components and services and the (construction of sometimes large) parts of the ships are sourced in various other countries, where they are most competitively available.


1. How sustainable is it to do sea research?
Our current understanding of ocean functioning, the role of the ocean in carbon cycling and temperature changes, is largely based on sea going research. Whereas today satellites can also monitor the sea surface, >99% of the oceans interior is shielded from observations from space. The current rapid changes in the carbon cycle, which are man-made, and changes in global climate require that we monitor the oceans, which hold >95% of the active carbon in the Earths’ system and have absorbed 97% of global warming. We try to minimize our ecological footprint by building a state-of-the art sustainable ship, prepared to run on carbon neutral fuels in the near future when technology allows this.

2. How sustainable will the RV Anna Weber-van Bosse be?
Sustainability has been central in the development phase of the RV Anna van Weber-van Bosse and will still be central during the building phase and also when the ship becomes operational. We plan to keep the ship also state-of-the-art with retro fitting carbon propulsion when available. The hull has been designed to optimize (i.e. minimize) fuel consumption, the ship will use battery power (i.e. hybrid) for power saving (peak shaving), the materials used and suppliers involved are evaluated on their ecological impact, such as for instance the ships paint system. For further power saving we use systems to harvest energy otherwise wasted from deck equipment and the ships’ exhaust.


1. What kind of research can be done at the RV Anna Weber-van Bosse?
The RV Anna Weber-van Bosse has been designed together with the entire Dutch marine and maritime research community and is hence suited for the broadest possible selection of the disciplines involved. These include, but are not restricted to, physical oceanography, marine biology, chemical oceanography, marine geology, marine microbiology, underwater acoustics, underwater archeology, maritime technology, etc, etc.. The new vessel also allows to investigate the atmosphere above the sea surface and act as a platform for atmospheric drones.

2. Where will the RV Anna Weber-van Bosse operate?
The RV Anna Weber-van Bosse will be an ocean class research vessel able to operate globally. The new vessel is equipped with a reinforced hull, giving it the ability to work close to the edge of the sea ice in the Arctic and Antarctic. It will not have ice breaking capacities, so the work area stops at this ice edge. The ship has been designed in such a way as to extend the weather window under which the vessel is able to operate, which also increases the work area in terms of the seasonal ranges.

3. What kind of new research equipment will be available?
The design philosophy used for the new vessel was primarily geared towards making the vessel as flexible as possible for installation of existing, new, but also future still to be developed equipment. Some of the main equipment to be installed on the RV Anna Weber-van Bosse is presently also used on RV Pelagia and these are the work horses of our research such as the multibeam for sea floor imaging, the CTD for sampling the water column and the large deep sea winches which allow us to sample the sea floor and deploy equipment at depth. These will be updated to the present state-of-the-art. In addition the ship will be made suited for several new equipment for the Netherlands such as a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) and equipment that we will use via international cooperation such as the UK Rockdrill and the German MEBO sea floor sampling system. This requires the A-frame to be specifically designed for these tools and allows us to optimally participate in our international collaborations. The ship will also be equipped with a drop keel, extending several meters below the ships keel, which allows sensitive measurement equipment to be extended through the disturbed surface waters and significantly improve underway observations.


1 Why does the Netherlands need its own research vessels?
The Netherlands is a seafaring nation and a good understanding of marine systems worldwide is of strategic importance. Decisions and measures that are taken at a political level are usually based on the results of independent scientific research and that is why research vessels are needed.­

2 Why don't we use existing ships (e.g. from Rijkswaterstaat, Ministry of Defence)
Ships from Rijkswaterstaat and the Ministry of Defence are built for specific purposes, such as fisheries research or hydrographic surveys, and are therefore often unsuitable for multidisciplinary scientific research conducted by Dutch universities and research institutes.­

3 Why don't we share research vessels at the EU level?
This already happens via the Ocean Facilities Exchange Group (OFEG) in which nearly all ocean-going research vessels from Europe participate and which together cover most of the world's seas. The advantages are efficiency and cost savings: researchers step on a vessel that is cruising in the area where they need to be at that moment. The Netherlands can only participate in this exchange if it has its own ship; the RV Pelagia and its replacement RV Anna Weber-van Bosse, is therefore our passport for European collaboration.­

4 Why don't we hire research time on foreign research vessels?
Foreign ships can be chartered against very high costs. The availability depends on the moments that the countries concerned do not need their own research vessel, which rarely happens.

5 Why don't we simply keep the research vessels moored if there is no money to use them?
Not cruising makes a relatively small cost saving on the total costs: just fuel costs and food for the people on board. The majority of the exploitation costs, such as personnel, maintenance and depreciation continue, even if the vessel remains in the harbour.

6 Why are new ships needed?
Because all ships, including research vessels, have a lifespan of about 30 years; the current research vessels have passed their economic (operational) lifespan. Furthermore, the maintenance costs are rising sharply. Second-hand ships are not suitable as research vessels because they lack the necessary space for laboratories, deck space for seagoing equipment, enough berths for researchers, and space due to tighter safety requirements. Also the current vessels no longer satisfy all of the users' requirements.­

7 Who are the users?
The replacement of the National Marine Facilities is intended for the entire marine scientific community of the Netherlands and for the Dutch maritime sector. A sub-function of "maritime living lab" has been added to the oceanographic function (falls under the NWO Domain Science) to ensure a good connection with the NWO Domain Applied and Engineering Sciences and the top sector programming.

8 How are the new vessels  designed?
The design process for the new vessels focused on the intended purposes, sustainability and area of operation. Ultimately, the national user group defined and described all these aspects of the design in the design brief. Subsequently, a study was started on the basis of which the most suitable ship design was decided upon with the help of a shipbuilding consultancy firm. After an assessment by the users, this was further developed into a draft design and a description of the project, which were used for the tendering process., This is used by the shipyard that has been awarded the tender to produce a basic design, and a detailed design on the basis of which the ship will be constructed. For the RV Anna Weber-van Bosse that is shipyard Astilleros Armon. NIOZ, together with a team of specialists, is involved during all stages of this process to ensure that the new vessel actually satisfies the basic premises and wishes of the users and, last but not least, does not exceed the defined budget.

9 Where will the ships be constructed? 
The three new vessels are tendered in accordance with a European tendering procedure. NIOZ has been guided in this process by lawyers specialised in tendering. Next Generation Shipyards in Lauwersoog has been awarded the contract for the construction of the RV Adriaen Coenen.  Thecla Bodewes Shipyards in Harlingen was chosen in the tender for the Wadden Sea and delta vessel RV Wim Wolff and the Spanish shipyard Astilleros Armon for the RV Anna Weber-van Bosse, the replacement for RV Pelagia.

10 How long will it take to build new vessels? 
The construction of the smallest vessel, the RV Adriaen Coenen took about one year, and was finished in the summer of 2022. The construction of the replacement of RV Navicula – the RV Wim Wolff - takes more than two years and is currently constructed at Thecla Bodewes Shipyards  in Harlingen.  It is expected to be deliverd in the summer of 2023. The construction of the largest ship RV Anna Weber-van Bosse will probably take two-and-a-half to three years and will start early 2023.

11 What will be done with the replaced vessels?
NIOZ intends to seek a new owner for the replaced vessels by putting them up for sale. NIOZ will, of course, pay careful attention to what the new owner intends to use the vessels for, and it will be ensured that, when the time comes, the vessels are dismantled in a sustainable manner.