ISTANBUL - Anatolia News Agency
Turkey’s first national research ship, TÜBİTAK Marmara, was put to sea. AA photo
Turkey’s first national research ship, TÜBİTAK Marmara, which is purposed to observe undersea operations of every kind as well as to conduct oil exploration activities, was put to sea Feb. 17.
“Turkey has proved that it is also capable of building research ships, along with freight ships. Hopefully, it will be able to export these ships also,” Science, Industry and Technology Minister Nihat Ergün said during the landing event of the ship in Istanbul. “The studies to be done with this ship will boost our country’s opportunities to benefit from the seas and will create a substantial surplus for our country.”
The ship will contribute to the protection of marine ecosystems from soaring sea traffic and enable research, surveillance and guidance on many undersea-related issues including watching fault lines and pipelines as well as exploring for oil.
Turkey hasn’t benefited from its marine opportunities as much as it should have since research ships and the human resources for these studies have not been adequate, Ergün said, promising to do more in the government.
In his remarks on the surging research and development budget of the government, the minister reasserted the Turkish government’s goal of being a country that focuses on research investment even though it won’t bring political benefits.
“Ten years ago, research infrastructure investments used to be only 114 million Turkish Liras within investment programs, but in 2013, we’ve allocated 1.9 billion liras, which is 17 times more.”
The ship will be fully equipped by the end of May and begin to its operations, the minister said during his speech at the event.
Building the research ship is an extension of the program to boost Turkey’s marine research, which started with establishment of a Sea Research Center within Turkey’s scientific institution TÜBİTAK’s Marmara region study hub. The center was formed for information sharing with international research centers and to adjust the systems to International Maritime Organization and European Union
environment and water directives.