Italians to build “Kronprins Haakon”

"RV Kronprins Haakon" will be one of the most advanced icebreaker in the world, and will provide a high-tech facility for the study of the marine environment.

Norway’s new polar research vessel will be built by a yard in the hometown of Christopher Columbus.


“RV Kronprins Haakon” will be the long-awaited state-of-the-art research vessel to be based in Tromsø. On Friday, the contract was signed with the Italian shipbuilding group Fincantieri at the Fram museum in Oslo. “Fram” was the vessel used by Fridtjof Nansen when he first time tried to reach the North Pole.

The Institute of Marine Research is in charge of the project and Rolls Royce Marine has designed the new vessel. The Norwegian Polar Institute will manage the vessel.

“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.

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.

It is the Riva Trigoso-Muggiano shipyard in Genova, Christoffer Colombus’ homehtown, which will build “RV Kronprins Haakon” before the vessel will be undergoing final outfitting and sea trials in Norway at VARD – a member of the Fincantieri Group, the Italian shipbuilding group says in a press-release.

The project has a total budget of approx. NOK 1,4 billion (approx. €175 million). 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 in Tromsø will be the biggest user of the vessel.

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. At 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. 

The ship will be one of the most advanced icebreaker 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.