The Norwegian Government decided in October 2012 to build a new polar research vessel. The Institute of Marine Research is in charge of the project and Rolls Royce Marine has designed the new vessel.
RV Kronprins Haakon represents a state-of-the-art for research vessels and the project has a total budget of approx 1400 mill. NOK, or app. 175 mill €.
Tromsø will be the homeport for the new polar research vessel, and the formal owner of the vessel, on behalf of the Norwegian Government, will be the Norwegian Polar Institute. The vessel is scheduled to be delivered in the second half of 2016, and start regular science cruises in early 2017. UiT The Arctic University of Norway will be the biggest user of the vessel.
Ficantieri is one of the largest shipbuilding groups in the world, specialising in design and construction of complex ships with high technological content, such as cruise, merchant and naval vessels, offshore and mega yachts.
The signing ceremony took place at the Fram Museum in Oslo. Managing director Tore Nepstad, Institute of Marine Research, and Executive Senior Vice President Naval Vessels Italy, Angelo Fusco, Ficantieri signed the contract.
-We are very satisfied with this prestigious order, acquired from such an important customer thanks to our reliability which is internationally recognised, gained also through the construction of similar vessels in the past. With this ship we shall take a further step forward on the technological front, helped in this by our ever closer collaboration with our colleagues at VARD, said Mr. Giuseppe Bono at the ceremony.
-This is an important step for all research institutions in Norway working in the northern and southern hemisphere, Mr. Nepstad added. –We still face a lot of challenges in our struggle to understand nature. Effects of climate change are, for instance, one of the research areas where we need a platform like the RV Kronprins Haakon.
The Norwegian Minister of Fisheries, Ms. Elisabeth Aspaker, also attended the signing ceremony. She underlined the importance of this new research vessel to increase the knowledge about the ecosystems both in the Arctic and the Antarctic.
-This is a happy day for Norway’s High North initiative and for Norwegian polar research. The state-of-the-art ship will ensure that Norwegian knowledge leads the way in the development of the polar regions, says Jan-Gunnar Winther, Director of the Norwegian Polar Institute.