The Research Vessel OGS Explora is an ice-class oceanic research vessel owned by the OGS, Istituto Nazionale di Oceanografia e di Geofisica Sperimentale (National Institute of Oceanography and Applied Geophysics), since 1989. The vessel is equipped with the most advanced geophysical and oceanographic instruments: GEOPHYSICS 12 kHz hull mounted Reson SeaBat Multibeam for deep-water morphobatymetry survey. Water Column Recording is supported 100 kHz hull mounted Reson SeaBat Multibeam for shallow water morphobatymetry survey (up to 500 m water depth) 2-7 kHz hull mounted Benthos Chirp III Sub Bottom Profiler for sub-seafloor investigation up to few tens of meter below the seafloor with decimeter scale resolution Sercel Seal Digital Multichannel Seismic Acquisition System completed by a 120 channel, 1500 m long solid state streamer for regional and high resolution seismic prospecting. Geometrics Digital Multichannel Seismic Acquisition System completed by a 96 channel, 300 m long GeoEel digital streamer for Very High Resolution Prospecting. A set of variable volume seismic sources composed by: a 60 cu.in. Sercel Mini GI-gun for Very High Resolution surveys; four 210 cu.in Sercel GI guns for High Resolution surveys; four 250 cu.in Sercel G.Guns for deep penetration surveys. PHYSICAL, CHEMICAL AND GEOLOGICAL OCEANOGRAPHY Termosalinograph SBE21 for continuous sampling of surface waters 75 kHz hull mounted RDI Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler SBE21 plus9 CTD for continuous physical properties measurement along the water column. Completes the system a 24 Nisking bottle carousel for water sampling. Gravity corer capable of recovering 5 m long sediment cores Box corer for the recovering of undisturbed seafloor sediment samples Grab for seafloor sediment sampling
The ship offers to both the European and the international earth and marine science communities a wide range of capabilities, including geophysical, marine geology and oceanographic facilities, laboratories and equipment. This 73 m long, 1400 ton weight vessel can safely operate all the year round either in ocean and polar environment, except in ice-covered areas. It can actually accommodate up to 24 researchers and technicians, with a crew of 18, and is capable of 30-days missions. Since 2008, the R/V OGS Explora is part of the EUROFLEETS project, the European excellence research alliance created to support the scientific marine research and providing efficient sea infrastructures and facilitating their coordination.
The oceanographic equipment allows the study of the physical, chemical and biological characteristics of water columnand surface sediments by means of both indirect and direct measurements and sampling; specific types of scientific instruments can be required depending on the research questions and objectives of the researchers involved in a given expedition. The geophysical equipment of the ship allows the study of the seafloor and the sub-seafloor at different scale of resolution and penetration, from the seafloor to several kilometers of depth, and is suited to perform stratigraphic and tectonic analysis, to characterize the occurrence of gas-charged fluids within the sediments and gas seeps in the water column and to assess risks associated to slope instability. This makes it possible to characterize any site where whatever offshore infrastructure has to be built: such as exploration and exploitation platforms, wind farms, pipelines, communication cables and power lines. All the collected data are georeferenced and can be integrated with other data for joint analyses and interpretation. OGS will provide the personnel to carry out the surveys and to process and interpret the data.