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The research vessel OGS Explora

The research vessel OGS Explora is the only ocean research vessel with a capacity owned by a public entity currently existing in Italy. OGS has acquired it in 1989 and important scientific activities were carried out with it, among which we remember the ten research campaigns in Antarctica, an Arctic campaign at the Svalbard Islands, various campaigns for crustal seismic data acquisition in the Mediterranean and numerous multidisciplinary research projects in the Mediterranean. The ship also served the needs of the offshore industry (exploration for hydrocarbons, deployment of telecommunication cables, etc.) with ad-hoc service contracts. Surveys on behalf of foreign countries were also carried out (projects UNCLOS - United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea) in order to collect data for delimiting the extent of the exclusive economic zones (EEZ).

The R/V OGS Explora infrastructure is the most complex among those existing in OGS as it involves a wide range of professionals for the management of electronic and mechanical instruments (navigation and positioning, multibeam, multi-channel seismic, gravimetry, magnetometry, samples of the seabed, physical oceanography, marine biology, wet and dry laboratories, analysis and quality control of data), the logistics and maintenance of naval platform. Management requires the finding of significant financial resources necessary to ensure the efficiency and functionality of the infrastructure.

Use and purpose

The main objective of the vessel OGS Explora is to enable the geophysical and oceanographic research of the scientists of OGS, of the scientific European and international community. In this context, the collaboration with international researchers, also outside Europe has always been intense, especially in the many Antarctic expeditions.

The secondary objective, but that became in recent years a priority for contingent situation, is the service for companies operating offshore, both in the Mediterranean area and in the Atlantic (Canada, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Fær Øer Islands).


Technical Specification N/R OGS – Explora


Name of the vessel: OGS EXPLORA
Built by: Elsflether Werft A.G., Germany 1973
Owner: Istituto Nazionale di Oceanografia e di Geofisica Sperimentale – OGS
Flag:   italy
IMO number: 7310868
Call Sign: IXWQ
Port/No: Trieste – 764
Characteristic of service: Scientific or technological research – Unrestricted navigation
Class:  100-A-1.1-Nav IL ; IAQ-1 ; Ice Class IB
Class exp.: 5:0:0 dal 10/11/2013
Material: steel(hull)/alluminium(superstructure)
Bunker Type: MGO


Gross Tonnage: 1408 GT 
Net Tonnage: 422 NT
Overall Length: 72,62 m
Moulded Breadth: 11,80 m
Moulded Depth: 6,55 m
Free Board: 2154 mm
Draft:  4,80 m
Displacement 1845 t




Propulsion: 2 x RBV8M545 DEUTZ diesel 8 cyl.-line
Installed power: 2 x 1294,5 Kw (1780 HP) 500 rpm
Main Gear: LOHMANN & STOLTERFOHT ratio 1:2
Propeller: 1 Variable Pitch Propeller ESCHER WYSS
Speed (max): 14 kn
Speed (cruise): 12 kn
Range:  about 40 days




Aux:  5 x TAMD 103A VOLVO PENTA 160 Kw
Electrical plant: 5 x 200 kVA 440 220 V 50 Hz
UPS:  Saft Nife 110/220
Oil separator: 2 x OSD 6 WESTFALIA SEPARATOR
Air compressor: 2 x L80 HATLAPA
Fresh water: watermaker MD 2000 TECNICOMAR 5760 l/day
  SFD13 SONDEX 20 t/day
Heater/Boiler: FSM 650 FROHLING  650000 kcal/h; WERMERT (500l)
Seismic HP: 3 compressors LMF  4 stages  24000 l/min (140 bar)
Derricks/Cranes: 1Derrick 47.48 KN; 1Crane HEILA Type HLRM 19/12 – 3SL
Davit:  1 davit for life/rescue boat; 1 davit for serviceboat
Serviceboat: Zodiac Ribo 600 (70hp)




Positioning and Navigation:

DGPS Veripos LD3 decoder (service on demand)
Motion Reference Unit – IXSEA OCTANS – MBES interfaced
Gyrocompass – IXSEA OCTANS – MBES Interfaced
PDS2000 Navigation Software – Navigation system can be interfaced to seismic acquisition system (SPECTRA string is available, fire command via RS232 converted to TTL)


MBES Reson Seabat 8111 - 101 beams, MAX SWATH = 150 (150m water depth, 7.5*WaterDepth), MAX RANGE = 1400m, freq = 100 kHz, hull mounted.
MBES Reson Seabat 8150 - 234 beams, MAX SWATH = 150 (6000m water depth, 7.5*WaterDepth), MAX RANGE = 15.000, freq = 12 kHz, , hull mounted.
SBES Simrad EA-600. Freq = 18 kHz, , hull mounted.
Sound Velocity Probe – Reson SVP 25
Sound Velocity Probe – Valeport MIDAS

Subbottom profiling:

Sub Bottom Profiler Benthos CAP-6600 – 16 transducers hull mounted : sweep 2-7 khz
CAP-6600 Chirp II WorkstationGP
Communication Technology SwanPro



Gun Controller RTS Big Shot – 16 channels
4 GI Guns – arranged in a 2m x 2m array, total volume 19,2 liters

Gravimetry and magnetometry:

Potential Gravity Meter  KSS 31 Bodenseewerk -Lacoste & Romberg (port station)
Geomagnetic Gradiometer SEA SPY

Winches and controls:

Hydraulic winch  OLEO MEC suitable for  SSS
Static pull 7,2 tons
Min speed  1.96 m/s
5.800 m standard coaxial cable 11,4 mm

Hydraulic winch OLEO MEC suitable for Coring operationWire 14,0 mm. mt. 2400,
Static pull 4,2 tonn.,  
Min speed 1,70 m/s

Control station on boat deck
Remote control winches (coring-SVP)
monitor load cell
monitor CC cam

Frame and lift equipment:

A-Frame – SWL 20 ton
1 side frame starboard  - equipped with winch (2*50m wire 18mm)
1 side frame port  - equipped with winch (2*50m wire 18mm)
Crane Heila – SWL 6400 kg
USBL pole (with joint flange)

Contact person: dr. Franco Coren