Rabat – Following Morocco’s renewed efforts to intensify maritime research, residents of Agadir have spotted a new oceanographic research vessel at the city’s port.
The 48 meter-long vessel is named after the famous Moroccan scholar Abou Al-Hassan Al-Marrakchi, who died in 1262. He was famous for his work in the fields of astronomy, mathematics, geography, and science.
The Moroccan daily, Al Massae, reports that the vessel is equipped with advanced systems that will allow for multidisciplinary research of the marine ecosystem. The ship will be used for both conventional surveys and for deep-sea marine investigations of organisms and their environments.
The research vessel will aid in understanding and developing fishery resources available to Morocco. The National Institute for Fisheries Research (INRH) will be able to monitor fish stocks at depths of up to 1,000 meters. The vessel also doubles up as a mobile laboratory, allowing for more integrated field research.
The vessel was paid for, and developed, in partnership with various Japanese agencies and manufacturers. In 2017 Morocco took out a MAD 467 million loan from the Japan International Cooperation Agency to allow for the construction of the oceanographic research vessel.
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“This vessel will contribute to strengthening scientific research and development of fisheries resources and will have significant economic and social benefits,” Shinichi Kitaoka, the president of JICA, said on the occasion.
In 2018 it was reported that Toyota Tsusho, a member of the Toyota Group, obtained a contract to construct a marine research vessel for Morocco, scheduled for delivery for 2021.
The statement from Toyota added that the project is the first vessel “purchased by Morocco using funds from a yen loan agreement under the Special Terms for Economic Partnership (STEP).”
As part of the intensified efforts in maritime research, in January this year, Morocco’s Abdelmalek Saadi University (UAE) and the Moroccan Royal Navy organized their first-ever joint oceanographic research program.
The event took place in Tangier, northern Morocco, and was meant to reinforce scientific cooperation between the two institutions. Under the partnership, efforts will particularly focus on maritime research.