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Dr. Fridtjof Nansen
"Dr. Fridtjof Nansen"
Photo: Havforskningsinstituttet
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RV ”Dr. Fridtjof Nansen” returns home

Twenty-four years on, it is time for "Dr Fridtjof Nansen" to return home after faithful and meritorious service to IMR, FAO, Norad and in particular the partner countries in Africa and southeast Asia. After arrival in Bergen and a major refitting, the ship will be re-named after the first female Norwegian professor Kristine Bonnevie.

 Many sailors, scientists, technicians and trainees have had their home-away-from-home on board the RV Dr. Fridtjof Nansen, and have had a close relation with her and the work that she has done. Indelible memories have been left on the walls after years of science and leisure. She has experienced grave incidences, arrests and death, but also festivity and visits by dignitaries, Ministers, Ambassadors and Royalties. But most of all, ordinary days with hard work in happy working relations between people of different nationalities, cultures and backgrounds.

Work on board Dr. Fridtjof Nansen

Work on board

Photo: Havforskningsinstituttet

The vessel has contributed to an enormous wealth of knowledge about the marine environment, about fishery resources and the diversity of life in the oceans in the regions where she has been. We have found undiscovered ocean currents and numerous previously undescribed new fish species. Several countries have received assistance in their management of living and non-living marine resources with the knowledge collected with the Dr. Fridtjof Nansen. The vessel has also been a great ambassador for Norway, for Norwegian culture and an expression and symbol of our will to assist in building strong institutions and systems in partner countries.
Luanda harbour

Luanda harbour

Photo: Antonio Barradas

The white lady is well known in Africa. The vessel and the Nansen Programme that is has been at the heart of, are better known in our cooperating countries than at home in Norway, as it probably should be with all successful development cooperation projects. She has a high star in the countries she has visited, and she is returning home with the conviction of a job well done. Her last survey ends in one of the ports she has visited the most during her lifetime, Luanda in Angola.  In the last 15 years the vessel has spent more than 60 days of survey time each year, in Angola and Namibia. I know the Angolans feel that the vessel is partly theirs. The colleagues there also look forward to welcoming the new Dr. Fridtjof Nansen that will join the programme later this year.

Cruise leader Bjørn Serigstad, the Ghanesian Minister of Environment Shery Ayetty and the director of  Environmental Pollution control Authority (EPA) Jonathan Allotey during a visit on board " Dr. Fritjof Nansen" in 2010.

After arrival in Bergen, the vessel will be re-named after the first female Norwegian professor, who became professor of biology in 1912, one year before Norwegian women were allowed to vote for the first time. It will be called RV Kristine Bonnevie. She will spend her mature days in the service of science in Norwegian waters after a major refitting in Norway. Maybe she still will provide many more years of service; after all, the retirement age is also going up in Norway. Let the spirit of Nansen be with you. With greetings from the crew and scientists on her last survey.

About "Dr. Fridtjof Nansen"

The present research vessel for the EAF-Nansen Project ”Dr Fridtjof Nansen” was built at the ”Flekkefjord Slipp og Maskinverksted” shipyard in Norway as build number 152. The vessel was delivered from the yard and Christened on 1st October 1993 in Bergen, Norway. The godmother is Christine Mowinkel Reksten, who is the oldest granddaughter of Gunnar Sætersdal, the late director of the Norwegian Institute of Marine Research (IMR) and founder and first head of the Nansen Programme. The vessel left Bergen in the last week of December 1993 and carried out its first survey in Africa, in Namibia, at the end of January 1994.

Follow the building prosess of the new "Dr. Fridtjof Nansen"

The new "Dr. Fridtjof Nansen" in progress


Åsmund Bjordal
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