Victoria, BC – Two University of Victoria-led ocean research projects for monitoring critical marine waterways and ocean health have received $13.3 million in funding from BC’s provincial government.
The university says it will use a portion of the funding to refit the 26.7-m former Coast Guard vessel, Tsekoa II, for ocean research in Georgia Strait and off the west coast of Vancouver Island. An additional $4.4 million will finance expansion of the VENUS undersea observatory in Georgia Strait and Saanich Inlet.
The refit of the Tsekoa II will transform the vessel into North America’s first hybrid fuel cell and plug-in “green ship”. The vessel will also be extended by 6.6 m to include a science lab and accommodation for seven crew and up to 11 scientists. The vessel will be used for coastal ocean research and also to service the university’s two world-leading ocean observatories, VENUS and NEPTUNE Canada.
The Strait of Georgia is one of the busiest waterways in North America. The VENUS expansion will include the addition of high-frequency radar antennae to provide real-time surface current and wave information to scientists, shipping, rescue co-ordination agencies and others. Among the improvements, VENUS instruments will also be installed on several BC Ferries vessels to measure ocean and weather conditions in the strait.
The Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) has also provided matching funds for the refit of the former Coast Guard vessel and expansion of the VENUS undersea observatory network.