A ship anchored in Nanaimo is the research vessel used by a philanthropic organization created by Google chairman Eric Schmidt.
The RV Falkor is used by scientists from around the globe to conduct specialized oceanic studies.
The 82.9-metre ship was originally built in 1981 in Lübeck, Germany as a fishery protection vessel. It underwent an extensive refit from 2009 to early 2012, converting it to an oceanographic research vessel. It has an estimated cruising range of 8,000 nautical miles and 28 days of steaming at a cruising speed of 12 knots.
She is used in research around the globe. Her purpose in these waters is to help researchers with the massive joint Canada-U.S. NEPTUNE-VENUS marine observation project, monitored in Canada at the University of Victoria.
For now, she's tied up at the Nanaimo cruise ship facility while she undergoes routine maintenance.
"We're delighted she's chosen Nanaimo as a layover," said Doug Peterson of the Nanaimo Port Authority.
Later this month she'll cast off to help investigate ocean currents believed to impair signals from the NEPTUNE research project, which streams live images, photographs and sounds from great depths off the coast of B.C. and Washington.
A spokesman for the Schmidt Ocean Institute declined comment, but information on the non-profit organization's website states the vessel will be used to track "potentially harmful intrusions of low-oxygen, corrosive (low pH), deep-ocean waters."
Lead researcher Prof. Kim Juniper, associate director for science, NEPTUNE Canada, could not be reached.
Next month the vessel will be involved in further deep-sea research in U.S. waters.
© Copyright 2013