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Into the Polar ice

Their Royal Highnesses Crown Prince Haakon of Norway, Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden and Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark have joined researchers onboard the ice-breaker Oden for a five-day expedition in the waters off the coast of the Svalbard archipelago.

25.06.2008

The journey represents a joint Scandinavian initiative in connection with the International Polar Year. The heirs to the three Scandinavian thrones are each serving as the Royal patrons for the International Polar Year for their respective countries. The two Crown Princes and Crown Princess boarded the Swedish research vessel Oden from Longyearbyen on Saturday evening. On Monday morning, the vessel had sailed to just outside Amsterdam Island, just south of 80°N latitude.

The International Polar Year 2007-2008

The International Polar Year (IPY) 2007-2008 is the fourth such research effort conducted in the past 125 years. Researchers from over 60 different countries are coordinating their activities in a major endeavour to increase world knowledge about the Arctic and the Antarctic environments.

The critical role that the Polar areas play in developments elsewhere on the globe is becoming increasingly clear, not least in the context of climatic change. In light of this, intensified research on climate issues is one of the main objectives of the IPY.

At the same time, the pressure is mounting to exploit the petroleum, gas, fisheries and hunting resources found in the polar regions. Achieving sustainable exploitation of this region will require a substantial amount of knowledge, especially as regards the interface between commercial activity, environmental impact, climate and natural resources.

The Royal party will arrive in New Ålesund on Thursday 26 June, and will return to Longyearbyen on Friday 27 June, where they will be joined by Crown Princess Mette-Marit.

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The Royal Heirs on board the I/B Oden, June 2008 (Photo: Katarina Theis-Haugan, Scanpix, The Royal Court)