Blog icon

MNF Subscriber eNewsletter | 1 June 2023

In this edition:

  • Primary Application call is now closed
  • Mapping your course with MFP
  • Confirming the location of MV Blythe Star
  • Research on the radar
  • Find us at upcoming events
  • In the news

Director’s message

Welcome to the latest edition of the Marine National Facility (MNF) Newsletter.

The past few months have seen us manage a busy tempo of research voyages, with five voyages being delivered or underway in the first half of 2023. I want to acknowledge and thank all our people and partners for their collaborative efforts and commitment to safely delivering these voyages.

As Australia’s dedicated marine research capability, the MNF provides Australian researchers and their international collaborators with an important resource to deliver excellent marine research for national benefit. Our capabilities, expertise and infrastructure enable vital projects to be delivered to advance our knowledge and understanding of our oceans and atmosphere.

The release of this newsletter follows the close of the 2023 Primary Application Call for fully funded grants of sea time on RV Investigator. The 2023 call invited applications for grants of sea time in the 2025-26 financial year and will be used to build the Primary Voyage Schedule for that year. These grants are funded by the Australian Government, including through the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS).

Thank you to all those who dedicated their time and effort to apply. Pleasingly, we received interest from a range of institutions and new applicants. These applications will now be assessed by the MNF and our independent assessment committees for national benefit and research quality before we announce the list of successful projects in early December.

Moving from future research to past, I’m pleased in this update to introduce a new section called ‘Research on the radar’. This will feature recent publications from our partners to share the research delivered using MNF capability. 

This newsletter also highlights the work we do supporting underwater cultural heritage discovery and preservation. As has been widely reported, a CSIRO project team aboard RV Investigator confirmed the resting place of the MV Blythe Star earlier this year. This was a project that generated overwhelming community interest. Even more than that, the outcomes have provided closure for many in the community who have been affected by this 50-year mystery.

It is a privilege to have been involved in this project. I commend all in the project team and those who have helped deliver this positive outcome for our community.

Stay safe and I wish all those at sea successful voyages.

Toni Moate
MNF Director


Primary Application Call is now closed

The 2023 Primary Application Call for fully funded grants of sea time on RV Investigator closed on 21 May 2023. Applications will now be reviewed by the MNF, National Benefit Assessment Committee and Research Advisory Committee.

Additional information may be requested from applicants through a rejoinder process during July. Following this, comprehensive assessment will be carried out for research excellence and national benefit of projects. Applicants are expected to be advised of application outcome in December 2023. 

Thank you to all those who dedicated their time and effort to apply for sea time.

Find out more about the application assessment process

Mapping your course with MFP

In 2019, the MNF started the digitisation of the sea time application and planning process through the MAPS (Marine Application and Planning System) project. This project sought to develop more streamlined digital tools for applicants and researchers to improve efficiency and reduce administrative burden.

With the MAPS project complete, we will now be referring to the MNF application and planning portal as MFP – Marine Facilities Planning. This will help maintain consistency with other users of this system.

Explore upcoming voyages via the Programme tab in MFP

Confirming the location of MV Blythe Star

During April, a CSIRO project team aboard RV Investigator successfully completed a project to confirm the resting place of the MV Blythe Star. MV Blythe Star was a 44-metre coastal freighter that disappeared in 1973 during a voyage from Hobart to King Island. The disappearance of the vessel triggered the largest maritime search ever conducted in Australia to that time. The searchers never found any sign of the vessel and three of the ten crew tragically lost their lives before the survivors were able to find help nearly two weeks later.

In its aftermath, the tragedy led to significant changes to Australian maritime laws to improve the safety at sea for future mariners.

Discover how we confirmed the resting place of MV Blythe Star, solving a 50-year mystery

Lost and found

The crew of the MV Blythe Star were thought lost at sea. So why did they stumble out of a forest? Watch the ABC 7.30 story.

Research on the radar

Welcome to our new newsletter feature where we highlight publications from research delivered using MNF infrastructure and data.

The Second International Indian Ocean Expedition (IIOE-2): Revisiting 110°E

Lynnath E. Beckley, Raleigh R. Hood, Peter A. Thompson | December 2022

A Special Issue of Deep-Sea Research II pertaining to the Second International Indian Ocean Expedition (IIOE-2). This Special Issue is focussed on a single research voyage undertaken in May–June 2019 with the Australian RV Investigator. The voyage revisited an oceanic transect line along the 110°E meridian in the south-east Indian Ocean which was first studied from 1962 to 1963 during the First International Indian Ocean Expedition.


New Species of Scalibregmatidae (Annelida) from Slope and Abyssal Depths off Eastern Australia 

James A. Blake | May 2023

Seven new species of Scalibregmatidae are described from deep waters off the east coast of Australia. Samples were collected as part of the RV Investigator voyage IN2017_V03 in MayJune 2017 using a Brenke sledge and 0.25 m2 box core.


See how to acknowledge the MNF for the research services we provide

Find us at upcoming events

The MNF team will be hitting the road in upcoming months to attend a variety of events across Australia. Come and visit us to talk about the research we enable and deliver.

Here’s where you can find us in coming months:

Find out more about our education and outreach programs

Recent research

Explore our most recently completed voyage IN2023_V03.

Dive in

In the news

Science is a team sport. Please share this newsletter.

The Marine National Facility is national research infrastructure funded by the Australian Government’s National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) and operated by CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, on behalf of the nation.