PRESS RELEASE: Coastal & Ocean Basin in new Flanders Maritime Laboratory in Ostend


On February 27th of 2017 the construction of Flanders Maritime Laboratory was started in Ostend, Belgium. Ghent University, the Catholic University of Leuven and Flanders Hydraulics Research will use its infrastructure to study the impact of waves, tides and wind on ships and constructions at sea.

About Flanders Maritime Laboratory

Along with the two universities, Flanders invests 28 million euro in the new Flanders Maritime Laboratory that is planned to be operational in 2020.

“The Flemish harbours, that serve as a gateway to Europe and process an important part of the European import and export, are the motor of our economy and welfare. Ensuring their accessibility for ships that are ever-increasing in size, is crucial to our economic position and the preservation of prosperity,” states Minister Ben Weyts. “This new maritime laboratory offers plenty of possibilities for windmill builders, offshore engineering and developers of wave and tidal energy. The research that will be conducted in the laboratory will help to reduce the risks of building at sea. It will also allow large and small companies to respond more quickly to market developments.”

Flanders Maritime Laboratory will be built on the Plassendale 1 grounds, in the harbour of Ostend.

Towing tank and wave tankCoastal and Ocean wave Basin Oostende

Flanders Maritime Laboratory is a 2-in-1 complex that houses a big towing tank and a wave tank.

At Flanders Hydraulics Research in Antwerp, the accessibility of the Flemish sea harbours is being studied by using ship maneuvering simulators. The towing tank at Flanders Hydraulics Research dates from 1992 and was built to test ships up to 200 meters in length. Today, there are ships up to 400 meters in length that pass through our harbours, so the scale models used in these experiments become larger as well. The new towing tank is 174 meters long and 20 meters wide and is being filled with 1 meter of water. This allows for maneuvering tests with scale models up to 8 meters in length, twice as long as the current installation in Antwerp, making the test results a lot more accurate.

The ‘Coastal and Ocean Basin’, wave tank in short, is a large concrete construction filled with water (30 m x 30 m x 1,4 m deep) in which controlled waves, currents and wind can be generated. Unique is that its features allow wind, waves and currents to be manipulated independently. Scale models of offshore constructions, constructions for coastal protection, floating wind turbines, golf energy converters,… are placed in this tank, where their design and behaviour under the influence of waves, currents and wind are being studied. The first experiments are planned to start in 2019.