RV Tangaroa

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RV Tangaroa.jpg
RV Tangaroa
New Zealand
Name: RV Tangaroa
Namesake: Tangaroa
Owner: NIWA Vessel Management Ltd
Operator: National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research
Ordered: 1989
Builder: Mjellem & Karlsen Verft, Bergen, Norway
Laid down: January 1990
Launched: April 1991
Acquired: June 1991
Commissioned: June 1991
In service: June 1991
Homeport: Wellington
General characteristics
Tonnage: 2,291 GT
Length: 70 m (230 ft)
Beam: 13.8 m (45 ft)
Draft: 7 m (23 ft)
Propulsion: Wärtsilä Vasa 8R32D, 4,023 horsepower (3,000 kW)
Speed: 10.5 knots (19.4 km/h; 12.1 mph) (cruise)
Range: 14,000 nautical miles (26,000 km; 16,000 mi)
Endurance: 60 days
Complement: 18 crew, up to 26 scientists.
Notes: Carries 10 m (33 ft) survey launch RV Pelorus and a 5.8 m (19 ft) inflatable work boat.

RV Tangaroa is a research vessel operated by the New Zealand National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research. It was purpose-built as a Deepwater Research Vessel for the then Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries Research Centre at a cost of $27 million to replace the ageing GRV James Cook.[1] It has a DNV classification of 1A1 (stern trawler) and Ice 1C (sufficient strength and power to operate in ice floes up to 0.4 metres (16 in) thick). It was transferred to the new National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research in 1992.

Tangaroa operates for 320 to 340 days per year conducting fisheries research in New Zealand's Exclusive Economic Zone and marine research the waters surrounding Antarctica. It is equipped for hydrographic, bathymetric and oceanographic surveys to measure and map various properties of the ocean and seabed; biological surveys; and for both acoustic and trawl fisheries surveys. It can trawl to 4,000 metres (13,000 ft) and conduct acoustic soundings down to 10,000 metres (33,000 ft).[2]

In 2010 Tangaroa received a $20 million upgrade including a dynamic positioning system. This allows the ship to "automatically maintain a vessel in a fixed position at sea (within a few metres) by using its own propellers and thrusters".[3] NIWA defended contracting the work to a Singapore dockyard to do the work instead of using the Devonport Naval Base Dockyard.[4]

On one voyage in 2003, scientists aboard RV Tangaroa discovered over 500 species of fish and 1,300 species of invertebrate,[5] and the tooth of an extinct Megalodon.[6]


  1. ^ "Antarctic adventure". Otago Daily Times. 23 June 2009. 
  2. ^ "Tangaroa: Specifications and principal features". NIWA. 
  3. ^ "Tangaroa: Frequently asked questions". NIWA. 
  4. ^ "Niwa defends decision to use Singapore company". National Business Review. 15 April 2010. 
  5. ^ "Weird ocean life surprises". BBC. 24 June 2003. 
  6. ^ "Prehistoric Find On Norfanz Survey". scoop.co.nz. 20 May 2003. 
  • RV Tangaroa: purpose-built deepwater research vessel, NIWA, 1995. ISBN 0-478-04647-2