A new oceanographic icebreaker being built for the Norwegian government has been launched at Fincantieri’s shipyard in Muggiano, La Spezia. The vessel, Kronprins Haakon, touted by the builder as “one of the most advanced oceanographic icebreakers in the world,” will continue to undergo final outfitting ahead of its delivery by the end of 2017.
Kronprins Haakon will be owned by the Norwegian Polar Institute for the Norwegian Government, while the vessel, taking its name from the heir to the Norwegian throne, will be used by the same institute and by the Institute of Marine Research (IMR), the Norwegian governmental body for oceanographic research and fishing, and by the University of Tromsø.
The high-tech icebreaker was designed by Rolls-Royce Marine to operate in the polar waters, providing a high-tech facility for the study of the marine environment. At 100 meters long and 21 meters wide, with a gross tonnage of about 9,000 tons, Kronprins Haakon will be able to accommodate 55 people (research personnel, students and crew) in 38 cabins, and will be fitted with the highest standards of comfort for passenger ships, the shipbuilder said. Its hangar at the bow will have two helicopters and the unit will be equipped with complex instrumentation able to investigate the morphology and geology of the seabed.
Kronprins Haakon will have a cruise speed of 15 knots and will be able to move on independently through ice thick up to one meter and with particular silence requirements to avoid disturbing the sea environment. The ship was built according to criteria ensuring minimum environmental impact and reduced radiation of noise underwater, so as to allow studies on fish and marine mammals. She will be able to carry out its oceanographic and hydrographic research activities in any area of operation.
The launching ceremony was attended, among others, by Jan Gunnar Winther, Director of the Norwegian Polar Institute, by Sissel Rogne, Director of the Institute for Marine Research, by Anne Husebekk, Rector of the University of Tromsø and by Angelo Fusco, Senior Vice President Naval Vessels Business Unit & Italy Business Unit of Fincantieri.