Kronprins Haakon, a new oceanographic icebreaker for the Norwegian government, has been launched at the Fincantieri shipyard in Muggiano (La Spezia). Her final fitting continues, and delivery is expected by the end of this year.
The vessel takes her name from the heir to the Norwegian throne, Haakon Magnus, and she will be used by the Norwegian Polar Institute, the Institute of Marine Research (IMR), the Norwegian governmental body for oceanographic research and fishing, and the University of Tromsø.
The Haakon will be one of the most advanced icebreakers in the world. The 9,000 gt vessel will be able to accommodate 55 people, including research personnel, students and crew, and will be fitted out with the highest standards of comfort for passenger ships. Her twin Z-drives give her a design speed of 15 knots in open water, with a range of 15,000 nm. She is built to IACS Polar Class 3 for year-round operation in second-year ice, and she has an icebreaking capacity of up to three feet at five knots.
Her bow hangar will have space for two helicopters, and she is equipped with multiple cutting-edge sounders, sonars and a sub-bottom profiler for examining the morphology and geology of the seabed. For science operations, she has 15 laboratory spaces, a 10 foot by 13 foot moonpool for ROV deployment and an A-frame. She is designed to create as little underwater noise as possible in order to minimize environmental impact and avoid interfering with sensitive research.
Rolls-Royce Marine provided the functional design, and the firm's experience on the Haakon played into its work on the British icebreaker RRS Sir David Attenborough.