• October 01, 2021

Today, October 1, 2021, the research vessel “Belgica” began its journey of 8,600 km from Zeebrugge, Belgium to Odesa, Ukraine.
We remind that this vessel was provided by the Kingdom of Belgium to Ukraine (namely the Ukrainian Research Center for Marine Ecology) to support the environmental monitoring of the Black Sea. This was a result of the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Belgian Federal Science Policy Office, the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, and the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources of Ukraine in July of this year.

The Ukrainian crew, as well as Ukrainian and international scientists are currently working on the ship. Throughout the trip, scientists will assess the presence of floating marine macrolitter, collect samples of seawater and bottom sediments for unique screening for tens of thousands of pollutants and microplastics, and select DNA from the environment to assess biodiversity and analyze the spread of antibiotic resistance genes between marine microorganisms. This ambitious scientific programme titled “Cruise of Three European Seas” (North-East Atlantic, Mediterranean and the Black Seas), as well as the transfer of the vessel, is organized and financed by the EU/UNDP project “European Union for Improving Environmental Monitoring of the Black Sea” (EU4EMBLAS) and supported scientifically by the EC Joint Research Centre and UkrSES.

It is expected that the vessel will reach Odesa on the eve of the Black Sea Day and will be the best gift to this day!

Upon its arrival, a presentation of the vessel and the crew will be organized, as well as the process of renaming the vessel and preparing for the first voyage will begin.

We wish our vessel favorable weather conditions and success in the ambitious research program!