RV Belgica, a research vessel owned by the Belgian state, suffered water damage to the engine room on July 19, 2015, in which wiring, motors and pumps were damaged. Alewijnse was contracted to renew the damaged cables and replace some of the starter panels for various pumps and engines. The repairs were carried out at the Naval Base in Zeebrugge.
Alewijnse also began researching the feasibility of a limited lifetime extension for the vessel. She celebrated her 30th anniversary in 2014 and renovations are necessary for the ship to continue in active service for another four years.
The vessel is the subject of a maintenance agreement between the Belgian Navy and Damen Shiprepair Dunkerque. Damen Shiprepair Dunkerque, part of Damen Shiprepair & Conversion, chose Alewijnse for the project because it had already successfully serviced equipment on board RV Belgica a number of times, and the two companies have enjoyed a close working relationship for a number of years. The contract for RV Belgica is the most recent in a series of successful projects undertaken together.
The Belgica is a research vessel of the Belgian state, registered as A962. She is owned by the Belgian Federal Science and falls under the responsibility of Belgian Federaal Science Policy. The Belgian Navy provides the crew, operational support and a dock in the Zeebrugge home port.
The vessel was christened in 1984 by Queen Fabiola, and is 50.9 meters long, 10 meters wide and draws 4.6 meters. Her displacement is 1,200 metric tons. The OD Nature of the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences (RBINS) is responsible for the budgetary management of the ship, the scientific instrumentation and the planning of scientific expeditions.
The ship is made available to Belgian scientists to carry out maritime scientific research. Activities include the monitoring of the water quality of the North Sea
, where scientists continuously collect data on the biological, chemical, physical, geological and hydrodynamic processes in the region. In addition, RV Belgica is also a floating laboratory for researchers from Belgian universities and scientific institutes seeking to enlarge their knowledge of the marine environment.