Abu Dhabi has launched the Middle East’s most advanced marine research vessel that will help in efforts to safeguard marine life in the emirate.
The vessel Jaywun ― a term that symbolises one of the finest and most valuable types of pearl ― will enable the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi (EAD) to monitor and assess the marine environment and biodiversity.
The 50m vessel will operate in the territorial waters of the UAE in the Arabian Gulf and the Sea of Oman and allow the EAD to complete its studies of the marine environment and fisheries in waters more than 10m deep.
The vessel, which can accommodate approximately 30 people, is equipped with the latest research equipment, including six laboratories for studying samples on the ship and a remotely-operated submarine vehicle.
EAD will also use the vessel to monitor and preserve fish stocks and marine biodiversity and help to ignite a passion for oceanography and fisheries studies in the Arabian Gulf among young Emirati researchers.
The vessel will support several environmental initiatives, such as the Blue Carbon Assessment Project for Oceanic Fisheries ― the first oceanic, blue carbon fisheries assessment survey in the region. The survey project was created to support the UAE’s strategic initiative to achieve climate neutrality by 2050 and will be conducted in the country’s waters.
Freire Shipbuilding Company in Vigo, Spain, developed the vessel under the supervision of Abu Dhabi Ship Building Company, with the support of the EAD team.
The ship was designed and built to suit the sea conditions of the Gulf region, characterised by shallowness and high water salinity.
Before the vessel embarked on its voyage to Abu Dhabi, preliminary sea trials were conducted off the Spanish coast to test its seaworthiness.
The ship began its month-long maiden voyage at the end of November, and passed three continents ― Europe, Africa and Asia ― including the waters of 25 countries and eight regional seas, covering a distance of more than 10,000km.
“The vessel has the capacity to conduct comprehensive marine and fisheries surveys, including basic deep water marine environmental surveys, fisheries resource assessment surveys, coral reef and seagrass habitat surveys, studies of marine water quality and sediment, and biological surveys,” said Dr Shaikha Al Dhaheri, secretary general of EAD.
“In addition, the vessel will play an important role in developing strategies and management plans to ensure the recovery and sustainability of fish stocks.”