The OGS Explora, owned since 1989 by the National Institute for Oceanography and Experimental Geophysics (OGS), is an ocean-going multi-purpose research vessel certified as capable of navigating and collecting data in a polar environment.
As a multidisciplinary ship, it is equipped both with oceanography and biology laboratories and geophysical data acquisition systems. OGS Explora has conducted ten research cruises in Antarctica and four around the Svalbard Islands; it has also been employed in providing support activities to countries with offshore activities in the Arctic area (Canada, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Fær Øer Islands).
The OGS Explora is 73 metres long with a gross tonnage of over 1400 tons, and can reach a cruising speed of 11 knots. The ship is integrated into the EUROFLEETS research infrastructure (the European research vessels fleet, which will be incorporated in the EFSRI infrastructure), where it is made available to the scientific community for Polar regions. In addition, the ship is listed in the European map of research Infrastructures (MERIL). The vessel’s global oceanic capability, coupled with its polar research specialisation, are instrumental to international collaborative scientific initiatives.
In early 2016 the OGS Explora will begin an intensive refitting process. By renewing some structural elements, laboratories and the accommodation space, her operational lifespan will be extended by 12 years. The refit will also make it possible to increase the number of on-board scientists to 24 and widen the vessel’s operational scope in the fields of geophysics, physical oceanography and biological oceanography.