The Princess christened the Kronprins Haakon
“I christen you the ‘Kronprins Haakon’. May luck and good fortune follow you, your crew, and all who are on board during your missions to the north and south.” Norway’s new research vessel was christened in its home port of Tromsø today.
Her Royal Highness Princess Ingrid Alexandra christened Norway’s new research vessel, the RV Kronprins Haakon, with the help of the ship’s captain, Johnny Peder Hansen.
"I christen you the ‘Kronprins Haakon’. May luck and good fortune follow you, your crew, and all who are on board during your missions to the north and south.”
Princess Ingrid Alexandra christens the RV Kronprins Haakon. Photo: Rune Stoltz Bertinussen / NTB scanpix
“I am very interested in the ocean and climate change. That is one of the primary reasons why I wanted to christen the ship,” Princess Ingrid Alexandra told NRK, the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation, after the ceremony. The Royal Family visited Svalbard this past summer, and their guides then explained about shrinking glaciers and other signs of climate change. The visitors were also given bags for picking up plastic waste.
“It was strange to see so much plastic in a place where so few people live,” said the Princess, who pointed out there must be even more plastic on the ocean floor, where it cannot be seen.
This is precisely where the new research vessel comes in. The RV Kronprins Haakon will help to provide new insight into the impacts of climate change on the oceans and the marine environment.
His Royal Highness Crown Prince Haakon spoke during the ceremony at Tromsø Harbour. He pointed to Norway’s role as both a seafaring and a polar nation, and stressed the research vessel’s most important task:
“It will help us by bringing us new and crucial knowledge about the polar areas, about the oceans and about climate change."
"Ultimately, it will be part of what can help us to save our planet.”
Crown Prince Haakon speaking at Tromsø Harbour. Photo: Rune Stoltz Bertinussen / NTB scanpix
The Crown Prince made it clear that he was both pleased and proud to share a name with such an important ship. Hopefully, it will not result in any practical mix-ups, like the time the King received an invoice for several hundred kilos of meat ordered by the Kiel ferry Crown Prince Harald...
Would like to join a voyage
Crown Prince Haakon has already been on an expedition with the Norwegian Polar Institute’s previous research vessel, Lance. “It was fantastic being in the polar region and experiencing the ice and the wildlife,” the Crown Prince said, adding that he was also impressed by the vast knowledge of the researchers on board. The Crown Prince said he was able to get answers to all of his “nerdish” questions – on climate systems, ocean currents, the ice and wildlife.
Crown Prince Haakon has been invited to join his namesake vessel on an expedition, which is something he would very much like to do. There are no specific plans yet, but options are being considered for the time and place.
Princess Ingrid Alexandra would also like to go on a voyage if the opportunity for “a trip with Pappa” were to arise. She encourages young people to take part in the struggle to protect the climate. They can participate in organisations such as Eco-Agents (better known in Norway as Miljøagentene) and they can help by spreading the word, picking up trash and taking other actions in everyday life, she said.
The Crown Prince and the Princess being interviewed by NRK after today’s ceremony. Photo: Rune Stoltz Bertinussen / NTB scanpix
Christened with a chunk of ice
Normally a ship’s sponsor crushes a bottle of champagne on a ship’s bow when a vessel is christened. Today the traditional bottle was exchanged for a chunk of ice collected from the Arctic Ocean at Svalbard. This is fitting, given that ice will be the element of the research vessel.
More than 100 years ago, Roald Amundsen used ice to christen the ship Maud. The research vessel Kronprins Haakon is the latest addition to a proud Norwegian tradition of research in the polar regions and follows the wake of Fram and Maud.
RV Kronprins Haakon will monitor environmental and climate conditions in the Arctic and Antarctica, and conduct research and education in these areas. The ship has already been tested, and was then characterised as “a speed demon in the ice» sailing 3-4 knots even through one-metre thick ice.
Many were present to see the ship christened on the quay in Tromsø Harbour. Photo: Rune Stoltz Bertinussen / NTB scanpix
Among the world’s most advanced
The Kronprins Haakon will collect environmental data in the polar regions. The ship has 14 laboratories on board, as well as depth sounders to provide highly detailed information from the seabed. A remotely controlled underwater vehicle can dive 6 000 metres to collect data, and the ship is equipped with seismic survey and trawling systems and can deploy weather balloons to take atmospheric readings.
Climate and environmental considerations were taken into account when the ship was designed and constructed in accordance with the latest regulations on emissions and safety. State-of-the-art engines produce low emissions, and the minimal amount of exhaust that results is purified. The double-hull construction will prevent tanks from being breached should the vessel run aground.
The vessel is also equipped to accommodate rescue helicopters, tow other vessels, extinguish ship fires and receive equipment for oil spill preparedness and response. Thus it can come to the aid of other ships in the area.
The Crown Prince and the Princess were given a tour on board after the ceremony. Foto: Rune Kongsro / The Royal Court
“We wish this ship and everyone involved the best of luck in their endeavours in the years ahead,” said Crown Prince Haakon. “And we wish the ship a safe journey to Antarctica and the South Pole – 107 years after Roald Amundsen first planted the Norwegian flag on the Haakon VII Plateau.”
The ship is formally owned by the Norwegian Polar Institute, while the Norwegian Institute of Marine Research is responsible for operation. UiT The Arctic University of Norway will be the primary user.
Later in the day, Crown Prince Haakon and Princess Ingrid Alexandra attended a polar seminar. The Crown Prince visited the research seminar held at the Scandic Ishavshotel before accompanying the Princess to a mini-seminar for young people at the Polaria aquarium.
The Princess fed a bearded seal at the Polaria aquarium. Photo: Rune Stoltz Bertinussen / NTB scanpix.
The Crown Prince and the Princess also had the opportunity to tour the Polaria aquarium and experience centre, which communicates research-based knowledge about the Arctic.
RV Kronprins Haakon
Facts about the research vessel Kronprins Haakon:
- PC 3 class icebreaker: Year-round navigation in ice-covered waters
- Equipped for all relevant research purposes and instruction
- Equipped with moon pool and for ROV, AUV and helicopter operations
- Accommodates a crew of 15–17 and 35 researchers
- Endurance of 65 days at cruising speed of 15 knots, can break through ice thickness of one metre
- Length 100 metres, beam 21 metres
- Cost: NOK 1.4 billion
Source: Norwegian Polar Institute.
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