The International Research Ship Operators (IRSO) forum is a group of research ship operators representing 49 organisations from 30 countries who manage over 100 of the world’s leading marine scientific research vessels. IRSO membership is open to all research ship operating institutes or national research programmes that are engaged in the collection of data from ships at sea, and follow established protocols for the open publication of their results.
IRSO members gather annually (September/October) to share information and solve problems of mutual interest to better support the marine scientific community’s research efforts at sea. IRSO also acts as a voice to promote the research ship community and provide expert advice to other bodies as required. Previously known as the International Ship Operators Meeting (ISOM), IRSO was founded in 1986 and is attended voluntarily with meetings hosted by and in participating countries.
IRSO has close links with and is attended by research vessel groups such as the European Research Vessels Operators (ERVO), the Ocean Facilities Exchange Group (OFEG) and the University-National Oceanographic Laboratory System (UNOLS). We welcome links with other like bodies.
Main topics and objectives of the annual agenda are:
- Best practice design and operation of research ships and associated scientific equipment
- The exchange of ship time and equipment between countries
- Benchmarking and co-operation in support of marine research
- Developments in national research fleets
This strategic sharing of knowledge and experience is crucial in an era of decreasing budgets, whilst the requirement for knowledge of the coastal seas and oceans and their relationship with mankind is rapidly increasing.
IRSO initiates projects of common interest to its members. For example it has developed a Code of Conduct for Marine Scientific Research Vessels and contributed to the founding of the OCEANIC research ships database at the University of Delaware. IRSO also sponsors workshops and working groups: for example the biannual International Marine Technician’s Workshop (INMARTECH).
Dr. Erica Koning
National Marine Facilities (NMF)
NIOZ Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research
PO Box 59, 1790 AB Den Burg, The Netherlands
General Manager – Vessel Operations
NIWA Vessel Management Ltd
301 Evans Bay Parade
Greta Point, Wellington,