Fincantieri to build Norwegian polar ship

NOVEMBER 29, 2013 — Oslo's Fram Museum today provided the backdrop for the signing of a contract that will see Fincantieri build a new icebeaking polar research ship for Norway's Institute of Marine Research. The vessel will be owned by the Norwegian Polar Institute on behalf of the Norwegian Government.

The ship will be named "Kronprins Haakon," in honor of the heir to the Norwegian throne and will be built at the Italian shipbuilding giant's integrated shipyard in Riva Trigoso-Muggiano, before undergoing final outfitting and sea trials in Norway at Fincantieri Group member Vard's Langsten shipyard.

Designed by Rolls-Royce Marine, the vessel will be launched in the second half of 2016 and will be fully operational from the beginning of 2017.

The project, promoted by the Norwegian government, has a total value of about 175 million euro.

With a gross tonnage of 9,000 tonnes, a length of over 100 metres and a breadth of 21 metres, the vessel will be able to accommodate 55 persons in 38 cabins - research personnel, students and crew - and will be fitted out with the highest standards of comfort for passenger ships. On the bow, its hangar will be able to accommodate two helicopters and will be equipped with complex instrumentation able to investigate the morphology and geology of the seabed.

Fincantieri says the ship will be one of the most advanced icebreakers in the world, and will provide a high-tech facility for the study of the marine environment. It will be built according to criteria that ensure minimum environmental impact and reduced radiation of noise underwater so as to allow studies on fish and marine mammals and it will be able to carry out its oceanographic and hydrographic research activities in any area of operation.

The vessel will carry out missions on a global scale and will be used to study the modalities and consequences of climate change in the Arctic environment.

Elisabeth Aspaker, the Norwegian Minister of Fisheries and Coastal Affairs, declared: "The purchase of this new research vessel will contribute to the knowledge of the ecosystems in both the Arctic and Antarctic regions. It is an instrument of great importance not only for our Country, but for the whole international scientific community".

Tore Nepstad, Managing Director of the Institute of Marine Research, added: "This is an important step for all Norwegian institutions that deal with research in the northern and southern hemisphere. We still have many challenges to face in our battle to understand nature. The effects of climate change are one of the research areas in which we need a technologically advanced vessel such as the Kronprins Haakon".

"We are very satisfied with this prestigious order, acquired from such an important customer that requires high quality standards," said Giuseppe Bono, Chief Executive Officer of Fincantieri. "With this ship we shall take a further step forward on the technological and innovative front, helped in this also by our ever closer collaboration with our colleagues at Vard."

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