The Esturial is a rare French research vessel designed for research on water resources in rivers and estuaries.

The Esturial sails primarily in the Gironde estuary. It is a key tool used to investigate fish and crustacean populations as part of research protocols that require sustained consistency and frequency.

Expeditions currently take place three times a month, with each expedition lasting about a week. These are organized in conjunction with programs to monitor the impact of the Braud-et-Saint-Louis nuclear power plant on mobile fauna and to restore the indigenous sturgeon Acipenser sturio.

  • Construction:    OCEA Shipbuilding at Sables-d'Olonne

Funding: 50% Irstea - 50% national and local government

  • Delivery: August 2013
  • Rebuilt, reengined and modernized in 2009
  • Project supervisor: HT2 (Nantes)
  • Hydrodynamic studies: Fluxvz (Paris)
  • Builder: ARN (Les Sables-d’Olonne)

Funding: 55% Aquitaine Regional Council - 45% Irstea self-funding

  • Maintenance in working condition: Irstea Bordeaux Center (Cestas) – EABX (Aquatic Ecosystems and Global Change) Research Unit

Description and main characteristics

  • Aluminium Catamaran
  • Fittings: Coastal fishery - Design category 3
  • Overall length: 13.65 m
  • LBP: 12.31 m
  • Overall width: 6.60 m
  • Depth: 2.38 m
  • Draft aft: 1.75 m
  • Gross tonnage: 31.97 GRT
  • Year of construction: August 1993
  • Rebuilt, reengined and modernized: May 2009
  • Registration no.: BX 828518
  • Home port: Royan

Conditions of use

  • Permanent crew: One chief marine engineer and one marine engineer
  • Sailing schedule: actual missions (excluding convoying) of between 12 and 24 hours maximum at sea, with a return to port, involving a technician and biologist in addition to the crew.
  • Sailing conditions: Maximum 10 people including 4 government staff; by day and good weather only
  • Berths: 5
  • Meals: prepared on board for 6 people maximum


Dry laboratory

  • 1.8 Ghz computer, CD/DVD writer, USB connections, Rs232, Rj45
  • Two 17-inch screens, networked to a similar PC on the bridge [or similar gateway pc?]
  • Maxsea 3D navigation software, version 7/10 pro

Wet laboratory

  • 1.8 Ghz computer, CD/DVD writer, USB connections, Rs232, Rj45
  • Two 17-inch screens, networked to a similar PC on the bridge [or similar gateway pc?]
  • Maxsea 3D navigation software, version 7/10 pro

Measuring equipment

  • OTT MiniSonde 5 Multiparameter sonde: depth, temperature, conductivity, turbidity, salinity and dissolved oxygen (optical sensor); with display and automatic parameter recording using time steps defined from the dry laboratory (charging mast allows it to go down to 30 m depth)
  • Niskin bottle for water sampling
  • Five General Oceanics 2030R flowmeters to measure volumes filtered by fishing equipment

Audiovisual equipment

  • Pioneer CD Radio
  • Toshiba 22' LCD TV with TNT modem and screen repeater with integrated DVD


Fishing equipment

  • Two Bopp TS500 Hydro Split trawl winches with 1 drum and 1 warping end each; capacity: Two 300 m warps, Ø 14 mm
  • One Bopp gilson winch for dip nets
  • One Bopp ECH winder One spool - 1 trawl net
  • One beam trawl (L x H : 2.80 m x 0.50 m)
  • One 4-sided bottom trawl (L x H: 15 m x 6 m)
  • One GOV 2 sided bottom trawl (L x H: 15 m x 5 m)

Fishing and sampling equipment

  • Two dip nets (L x H: 4 m x 1 m)
  • Suprabenthic sledge (L x H: 2 m x 1.20 m)
  • Suprabenthic sledge (L x H: 1.25 m x 0.50 m)
  • SMITH McINTYRE Benthic Grab

Navigation and safety

  • Two MLR FX-412 differential GPS (2 m accuracy)
  • Magnetic compas, gyrocompass
  • Steering gear: VHM60DT hydraulic
  • KODEN MDC-1840BB radar, radome version with ATA option, 3666 nautical mile range
  • Neco Marine Auto 828 Pilot autopilot
  • Furuno safety radar, 36 nautical mile range
  • Koden CVS 106 echo sounder
  • Max Sea navigation software
  • Two class 3, 10 seater RIBs (Zodiac)
  • Two class 3, 6 seater RIBs (Bombard)
  • CO2 extinguishing system for machine compartments


  • AVON two-way VHF radio
  • SMDSM sailor VHF radio (international standard)
  • GSM telephone
  • TNT antennae and 15dB Wifi
  • Bridge - lower deck - laboratory - upper deck intercom
  • Networked computers on bridge and in dry laboratory


Continuous current

  • 24 V
  • 250Ah lighting battery
  • 250Ah machine battery
  • Two power outlets in the wet laboratory
  • Two power outlets in the dry laboratory
  • One power outlet in the mess
  • One power outlet in the wheelhouse

Alternating current

  • 1000W 24V/220V inverter for IT network
  • 220V from 13.5KW electricity generator with 220V power outlets in all areas


  • 1,700 liter tank
  • One 220V compressed air pump for toilets, mess, wet lab


  • One 15m3/hour Stork pump for cleaning, fires and filling the live tank


  • One 140L refrigerator for onboard supplies in the wet laboratory
  • One refrigerator for storing samples in the wet laboratory
  • One freezer for storing samples in the wet laboratory
  • One refrigerated cabinet for storing food supplies in the mess


  • 4,900 liter fuel tank


  • Two 1m3 bottles of non-medical oxygen


  • One bottle of propane for water heater and stove


  • Engine power: Two Caterpillar 3056 DITA diesel motors
  • Power: 2 x 208 x 38 cm
  • Twin Disk MG 5075 SC reducer-reverser
  • Traction: 3.5 Tons at 1,500 rev/min
  • Maximum speed: 10 knots
  • Autonomy: 1,000 miles at 9 knots
  • Electricity generator: Cummins Onan 50 Hz 13.5 kW
  • ALM Heila 2-1 S Hydraulic crane, maximum load when fully extended 460 kg at 4.61 m
  • Seimi 1201H hydraulic windlass
  • 80 kg anchor and 70 m anchor chain
  • Reversible air conditioning in the wheelhouse