The Association between James Cook University and the James N. Kirby Foundation is as old as the University itself, with the grant of $25,000 to fit-out the proposed vessel with then state-of-the-art equipment being contingent on JCU raising the funds to build the vessel. This was awarded in 1969, and the Research Vessel (RV) James Kirby was launched in 1971. Further small grants were provided in the early 1970’s to increase the scientific array of the vessel.
The RV James Kirby currently provides the logistical capacity to perform a very wide range of tasks involving scientific research, seabed mapping, vibracore and marine sampling, trawling and teaching in a tropical marine environment. This support is delivered across a unique and particularly significant stretch of World Heritage listed coastal area in the Northern Tropics and the adjacent seas, the GBR World Heritage Area and the Coral Sea.
The purpose of this funding application is to provide an upgrade of the RV James Kirby in order to comply with new 2C survey requirements as per Qld Maritime Safety Regulations and to take advantage of the costs of slipping (including vessel down-time) to undertake a refit to bring the vessel to internal standards that befit a modern research vessel.
These recent changes to Queensland Maritime Safety survey regulations impact on the vessel’s capacity to satisfy the requirements of user organisations pertaining to carrying “passengers”. Passengers in respect to this definition refer to all non-crew, non-technical staff therefore under the new survey criteria scientists and researchers cannot legally be carried.
The general refurbishment, especially of galley and heads, will bring the vessel to an acceptable modern standard as the University has focussed scare resource funds into maintaining state-of-the-art equipment.
This internal refit would provide some new basic facilities for crew to enable trips of extended duration to capitalise on the cutting edge technology JCU has currently invested.
Manager Marine Operations School of Earth and Environmental Sciences