The IMOS Ships of Opportunity (SOOP) Facility uses a combination of volunteer commercial and research vessels to collect data relating to physical, chemical and biological oceanography and ecology. As chartered vessels for equipment deployment are expensive and time consuming, the use of volunteer vessels, in addition to equipment especially designed to be deployed efficiently and without the need for high-level technical experience is at the core of the Ships of Opportunity Facility.
The use of vessels that undertake continuous transects between ports or regions allow seasonal and annual datasets to be established. The Ships of Opportunity Facility builds upon similar pre-existing programs, expanding to collect a wider variety of data and increasing the number of vessels fitted with the various sampling equipment. The Ships of Opportunity Facility consists of nine different sub-facilities.