Third research vessel heading for Walvis Bay

A Norad-owned research vessel is examining the world’s oceans, using cutting-edge technology and sophisticated equipment.

11 March 2019 | Technology

The arrival of the marine research vessel RV Dr Fridtjof Nansen in the Port of Walvis Bay on 3 April follows after visits by two other research vessels Pelagia (10 March) and Meteor (15 March).

The Pelagia is operated by the Royal Netherlands Institute of Sea Research (NIOZ). The most recent research conducted on board Pelagia is concentrated on microbial cycling and removal of nitrogen species, phosphorus recycling and sedimentary sequestration, water column pathways of trace metals (iron, manganese) and their release from shelf sediments.

Researchers also looked at the potential influence of nitrogen availability on the micro-organisms that produce the lipids used for organic sea surface temperature proxies of paleo-reconstructions.

The RV Meteor is a multidisciplinary research vessel operating mainly in high seas and owned by the German state represented by its Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

The Meteor has been on a research cruise doing ground-breaking maritime research, including along the Angolan-Namibian coastline, since 2013.

RV Dr Fridtjof Nansen’s is owned by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad) and has sailed the equivalent of 60 times around the globe, finding new fishery resources and species.

It is also helping developing countries manage their fisheries and protecting threatened marine environments for over four decades.

Its objective is to assemble scientific data critical to sustainable fisheries management while studying the impacts of pollution, climate variability and change on oceans and seas.



The current Dr Fridtjof Nansen is the third consecutive Norwegian research vessel dedicated to surveys in developing countries.

The vessel was constructed as part of the United Nations’ (UN) Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) project and is jointly operated by the Institute of Marine Research (IMR) and the University of Bergen (UIB) to help developing countries improve their fisheries management.

The overall length of the vessel is 74.5 m and it can accommodate 45 people, including 15 seamen and 30 scientists.

The new fishery and oceanographic research vessel was delivered in January 2017 and launched in May 2017.

It replaces an old vessel of the same name, which has been navigating the African coast since 1993, carrying out in-depth research in the marine ecosystems for the EAF-Nansen Project.

The programme has been the flagship of Norwegian development cooperation in fisheries for more than 40 years and is executed by FAO in close collaboration with the Institute of Marine Research (IMR) of Bergen, Norway, and funded by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad).

The EAF-Nansen Programme “Strengthening the Knowledge Base for and implementing an Ecosystem Approach to Marine Fisheries in Developing Countries” is an initiative to support the implementation of the ecosystem approach in the management of marine fisheries.

The aim is to promote sustainable utilisation of marine living resources and improved protection of the marine environment.

The programme, in partnership with research institutions in partner countries and regions, provides the knowledge base for the sustainable management of fisheries in the face of increasing fishing pressure, climate variability and change, pollution and other anthropogenic stressors

It also supports fisheries management institutions in partner countries and regions to improve fisheries policy and management in line with an ecosystem approach to fisheries, including taking into consideration the risks and opportunities related to climate and other environmental variability and change.

It also assists with developing institutional and human capacity for fisheries research and management, including the promotion of gender equality and effective participation of women in all programme activities.

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