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New manned and unmanned vessels to strengthen Norway's maritime surveillance

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Left to right: research director Geir Huse, CEO Sissel Rogne, and researcher Geir Pedersen.

Photo: Christine Fagerbakke / Institute of Marine Research

Five new vessels, four of which are autonomous, will be an integral part of the Institute of Marine Research's long-term cruise strategy. 

"Today we celebrate that years of work to strengthen and develop surveillance at sea are coming to fruition. Cruises are the backbone of much of the advice we give. The new autonomous vessels and new coastal research vessel will make us even better able to conduct modern and efficient monitoring of our seas", says Sissel Rogne, CEO at IMR after an extensive and thorough procurement process has now been completed.

Thanks to the fisheries minister

The contract for the construction of four autonomous research vessels is awarded to Kongsberg Maritime AS.

Sissel Rogne points out that last year's covid-19 crisis packages ensured the ongoing adaptation to more high-tech observation methods. Modern observation technology is also an important prerequisite for the digital investment that is taking place at the Institute of Marine Research.

"It is appropriate to highlight the Minister of Fisheries Odd Emil Ingebrigtsen's efforts. Thanks to the extra grants and sensible reposting in our budget, we can step up our strategic efforts. It benefits everyone that we are able to get an even better management of the marine resources, the coast and the seas", says Sissel Rogne.

Two new Autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) will be ready for cruise activity already in 2022. Photo: Kongsberg Maritime AS

New coastal research vessel will provide good and efficient coastal research

The new coastal research vessel will be built by Holland Shipyards Group B.V., and will be delivered in Bergen in November 2022.

Even if the vessel itself is built in the Netherlands, much of the equipment will come from Norwegian suppliers.

"The Institute of Marine Research is bound to comply with laws and regulations on public procurement. The providers were fairly consistent in quality, but when it came to price, there was a relatively big difference in the offer Holland Shipyards delivered and what came from the Norwegian shipyards", says Sissel Rogne.   

New coastal research vessel - this is what it might look like. Illustration: LNG Marine

Armada strategy

The AUVs will arrive at the institute during the summer, the USVs will arrive in the autumn of 2022. Already in 2022, the AUVs can be used on cruises, says research director Geir Huse, who also heads the IMR's cruise committee.

"The shipping company and the research groups immediately start implementing the vessels in our cruise activity. It entails competence building and innovation along the entire "value chain": control of the vessels, southbound, transport solutions and instrumentation for data transmission", says Huse.

In the first instance, the vessels will be used together with the traditional research vessels in an "armada strategy". Eventually, they will probably operate more independently.

Two new unmanned surface vehicles (USVs) will be delivered late in 2022. Photo: Kongsberg Maritime AS