Named after the French explorer Marc-Joseph Marion du Fresne (1724-1772), R/V Marion Dufresne is a multi-purpose, 120 m (395.3 ft.) long, research and supply vessel with two main missions: logistics for the French Austral Islands and oceanographic research. Specifically designed for very severe weather conditions, she benefits from exceptional sea behaviour.
The complete KONGSBERG package for the upgrade, which takes place at Damen Shiprepair Dunkerque, France, in April 2015, consists of the following equipment:
- EM ® 122 – Full Ocean Depth Multibeam Echo Sounder
- SBP 120 – Full Ocean Depth Sub-Bottom Profiler
- EM ® 710 MKII – Medium Water Multibeam Echo Sounder
- EK80 – Scientific Echo Sounder
- K-Sync – Synchronisation System
Øystein Aasbø, Area Sales Manager, Kongsberg Maritime commented: "IPEV needed a supplier with a proven technology base and well documented similar deliveries within the last 10 years. Our delivery, including the EM® 122 which replaces the existing 12 kHz multibeam echo sounder on board and the newly released upgrade of the medium water multibeam EM® 710; EM® 710 MKII, enhances the R/V Marion Dufresne’s capabilities significantly, ensuring it is prepared for a wide range of survey, scientific and research activity going forward".
R/V Marion Dufresne is equipped with a full suite of geophysical facilities (including multibeam bathymetry and imagery) and has unique capabilities for raising long sediment cores, up to 60 meters (her record core being 58 meters). With a capacity for 110 passengers, the R/V Marion Dufresne allows large scientific parties to embark on multidisciplinary programs.
The R/V Marion Dufresne (IMO 9050814) is chartered by the TAAF (Territoire des Terres Australes et Antarctiques Françaises) on an annual basis from the shipping line CMA-CGM (Compagnie Maritime d'Affrètement - Compagnie Général Maritime). The ship was constructed by Ateliers et Chantiers du Havre (Normandy) and delivered on 12 May 1995; it is registered out of the port of Marseille, France, but its base of operations is the island of La Réunion.