The Institute of Marine Research (IMR), a Norwegian governmental body for oceanographic research and fishing, has signed a deal worth €175m with Italian ship building firm Fincantieri for the construction of an oceanographic icebreaker.
The new ship will be owned by the Norwegian Polar Institute, on behalf of the Norwegian Government, and will be operating in polar waters.
The IMR is the owner of several research vessels or operates them on behalf of other Norwegian institutes to carry out missions on a global scale.
The new ship, which will be named Kronprins Haakon, will be built at Fincantieri’s integrated shipyard in Riva Trigoso-Muggiano.
Rolls Royce Marine will provide designs for the new vessel, which will be launched in the second half of 2016 and will be fully operational from the beginning of 2017.
The vessel will have gross tonnage of 9,000t, length of over 100m and breadth of 21m, with an area to accommodate two helicopters near the bow.
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It will feature 38 cabins and will be able to accommodate 55 people.
The icebreaker will be put on sea trials in Norway at VARD, a member of the Fincantieri Group, before delivery.
Norwegian Minister of Fisheries and Coastal Affairs Elisabeth Aspaker said the purchase of the new research vessel will contribute to the knowledge of the ecosystems in both the Arctic and Antarctic regions.
IMR managing director Tore Nepstad said the order 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," Nepstad added.
Fincantieri CEO Giuseppe Bono said the company is very satisfied with the order, acquired from a customer requiring high standards.
"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," Bono added.