The R/V Hespérides is a Spanish oceanographic research vessel prepared for polar research. It was launched in March of 1990 at the Spanish Naval Base of Cartagena, where is also based. It is a vessel with a reinforced hull, what make it ideal for polar research, both in the Arctic ocean and Antarctica. In 1991, the management of the vessel was surrended to the Spanish Navy and in that same year started the first Antarctic Season. Since then, the R/V Hespérides has taken part in all Antarctic missions (except in 2010-2011 expedition due to the Malaspina expedition).
Beside the Antarctic scientific surveys, the vessel also provides logistical support supply for the Spanish bases located in the South Shetland Islands, Gabriel de Castilla and Juan Carlos.
The vessel is equipped with laboratories and instruments funded by the Spanish National Research Plan. The Marine Technological Unity (UTM) is in charge of providing the equipment and technicians needed for their maintenance.
The BRAVOSEIS project will make use of instruments on board the vessel to obtain bathymetric and gravimetric measurements at the Central Bransfield basin, among other things.