Tyne & Wear

Marine research boat to be built in Blyth

Welder working on the new vessel
Image caption The vessel is being built in Blyth and will be launched next year

A research vessel commissioned by Newcastle University is to be built in the North East.

The £800,000 catamaran will be used to collect samples of marine life in the North Sea allowing researchers to monitor the marine environment.

The on-board equipment will record data for analysis including information on the effects of climate change.

The vessel is being built in Blyth by master boat-builders Alnmaritec and is due to be launched early next year.

Plankton sampling

Designed by staff and students in the School of Marine Science and Technology, it will replace the Bernicia which was used for biological sampling for 40 years.

The catamaran will be used for a range of biological and other scientific research including water and plankton sampling, rock dredging and sea floor photography.

Chris Millman, managing director of Alnmaritec, said: "I think what it shows is that despite all the doom and gloom of the big shipyards, the region still has the specialist expertise and the knowledge to keep us at the forefront of the industry."

Professor Richard Birmingham added: "It is fantastic that this vessel which will be operating in the waters of the North East coast will also be built by a local company reinforcing the strong links we have with the regional marine community."

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