RV “G.O. Sars” was delivered in 2003 and is owned by the Institute of Marine Research (75%) and the University of Bergen (25%). The main operating areas are the Barents Sea, the Norwegian Sea and the North Sea. The vessel has also carried out trips to the Mid Atlantic ridge and to the Antarctic. “G.O. Sars” is equipped for all types of marine research and can handle ROV Ægir 6000, AUV Hugin and Calypso giant piston corer.
"G.O. Sars" is a very quiet vessel (emits 99 percent less noise under water) compared to conventional research vessels. Thus, the researchers receive better quantity measurements of different fish species in the sea.
The trawl deck is 18 m wide, is equipped with four trawl winches and has room for two complete sets of trawl doors. A pelagic trawl can, for example be deployed as soon as the bottom trawl is on board, and the researchers can thus combine different types of studies on the same cruise. The research vessel has enough engine power to tow a large pelagic trawl with five to six knots speed, which is important for obtaining representative samples of fast-swimming fish as mackerel.
Midships is a large environmental hangar with six winches, each with up to 6,000 meters of cable, for deployment of various instruments in our deepest sea areas. One of the winches is equipped with fiber optic cable which can transmit large amounts of data from submerged instruments. Behind the trawl deck there are two winches for towing plankton tools and special underwater vehicles. "G.O. Sars" has different laboratories, so that most of the analysis work (plankton, fish etc.) from various cruises can be carried out on board.
"G.O. Sars" is equipped with echo sounders and sonars that can observe fish in the entire water column, from the surface to the bottom. The vessel also has equipment for taking core samples 25 meters into the bottom sediments, and a special echo sounder can examine sediments 150 meters below the seabed. It can also conduct seismic surveys using air gun sets and hydrophones.
In 2003, "G.O. Sars" was voted to be "The ship of the year". In addition to monitoring and research in Norwegian marine areas, the vessel has made three major expeditions: the MAR-ECO cruise to the Mid-Atlantic back in 2004, the AKES cruise to the Southern Ocean in 2007–2008 and the Transatlantic cruise in 2013.
The vessel is named after out first marine scientist, Georg Ossian Sars (1837–1927) – and replaces the old "G.O. Sars" (2) / "Sarsen" from 1970.