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Korea Institute of Ocean Science & Technology

Oceanic research vessel named “ISABU” after a general of the Silla Dynasty

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  • Date : 2014-12-01

In the naming competition for a marine science research vessel, the grand prize went to “ISABU”.


The memory of Isabu, a general of Silla during Republic of Korea’s Three Kingdoms period, is revived in the form of a large research vessel that will travel the oceans across the globe.


The large marine science and research vessel, which, when completed, will be Republic of Korea’s first 5,000-ton class research vessel, is currently under construction, with its first launch scheduled for 2016. Its official name has been chosen to be “R/V* ISABU”.


* R/V: Research Vessel (R/V is usually attached before the name of a research vessel)


The Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries (Minister: Lee Ju-young) and the Republic of Korea Institute of Ocean Science and Technology (President: Hong Gi-hoon) announced that a total of 2,178 ideas were submitted to the naming competition for the large research vessel in August, and “ISABU” was selected as the final winner after a screening process and three review rounds.


* The list of winners is available at the website of the Republic of Korea Institute of Ocean Science and Technology (


A general and politician of the Kingdom of Silla, Isabu is mentioned in Samguk Sagi (The Chronicles of the Three States). He subjugated the island state of Usanguk (current Ulleung-do Island) and incorporated it into Silla in 512 (the 13th year of King Jijeung), thereby expanding Republic of Korea’s territorial waters.


The fact that the marine science and research vessel was named after General Isabu is an indication of Republic of Korea’s strong commitment to securing a leading position in the field of marine science and technology, based on the emulation of the historical figure’s formidable mind and enterprising spirit, and at a time when countries around the world are fiercely competing to lay claim to marine resources and expand their marine territories.


R/V ISABU is currently under construction as part of a national research and development project being carried out by the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries. Work on the vessel began in April this year, after its shipbuilding contract was signed in December 2012, and it is scheduled to be delivered by December 2015, after a 20-month shipbuilding process.


“The 5,000-ton class research vessel has been a long-cherished dream of the Korean marine science and technology community, and, when completed, it will expand our oceanic research capabilities significantly,” said Kim Jun-seok, director general for Marine Industrial Policy at the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries. He went on to say, “We will come up with ways to jointly use the large research vessel with outside organizations, such as universities.”


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Last Update : 2020-03-07