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After being trapped in Norway by the pandemic, Dr. Fridtjof Nansen is once again heading out into the world

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This will be the first Africa cruise for Anders Lyngvær (from left), Paul Kåre Remøy, Kjell Egil Hustad, Jan-Terje Normann and Gordana Gagic

Photo: Anders Jakobsen / Institute of Marine Research

The research vessel has been in Norway since March 2020. Now it is returning to Africa – with five first-time crew on board.

“We have been looking forward to this for a long time. Now we are ready. Autumn has arrived here in the north, so it’s the perfect time to head south”, says Captain Aron Håpoldøy, smiling.

On Saturday, 9 October Dr. Fridtjof Nansen will set sail for Las Palmas in the Canaries.

In March 2020, the research vessel came home to Norway due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Since then, it has been operating in Norwegian waters, but now it is returning to where it belongs: development cooperation off the coast of Africa as part of the EAF-Nansen Programme.

First overseas voyage for some

On its voyage southwards, the vessel has a crew of 14. For five of them, it is their first overseas cruise.

One of the first-timers is Paul Kåre Remøy. He joined Dr. Fridtjof Nansen as Chief Officer in February 2021. He is looking forward to travelling to the boat’s “natural element” in remote climes.

“It will be good to get started with the scientific surveys and trawling, and to experience new cultures, people and countries. It will be exciting to see how it all fits together”, says Remøy.

To menn på et skipsdekk med Bryggen i Bergen og Fløyen i bakgrunnen.
Captain Aron Håpoldøy (left) and Chief Officer Paul Kåre Remøy are looking forward to leaving the autumn of Bergen and Norway, and head to warmer climate. (Photo: Anders Jakobsen / Institute of Marine Research)

“Finally, we can get started again”

The Nansen Programme is a collaboration between Norad, the FAO and the Institute of Marine Research (IMR).

Through the EAF-Nansen Programme, Dr. Fridtjof Nansen shall help developing countries to introduce ecosystem approach to fisheries management.

“Finally, we can get started again. We are very eager to use our fantastic research vessel in the waters where it belongs. The world needs ocean management, and Dr. Fridtjof Nansen and the Nansen program can contribute with important knowledge needed to build good ocean management”, says Sissel Rogne, CEO at the IMR.

Norad is also looking forward to the research vessel getting started again on the African coast.

“I am happy that Norad’s research vessel now will return to African waters. It is more important than ever to protect our oceans and marine resources, and Dr. Fridtjof Nansen provides a unique contribution through collection of physical and biological information from surveys in African and Asian waters. On behalf of Norad I wish the captain and the crew from IMR a safe voyage to Las Palmas”, says Norad’s Director General, Bård Vegar Solhjell.

FAO agrees with Rogne and Solhjell.

“We're glad to slowly restart at-sea activities in partner countries' waters”, says FAO’s Merete Tandstad, EAF-Nansen Programme Coordinator.

“The research surveys provide necessary knowledge in support of the countries' efforts towards more sustainable fisheries management and improved food security, bringing countries closer towards reaching the UN SDGs by the 2030 deadline”, she adds.

South to the Canaries

The journey to Las Palmas is all about getting from A to B. On the Canaries, there will be a change of crew, and then the Norwegian and foreign researchers will join the vessel.

The plan is for the first research cruise to start on 22 October.

The EAF-Nansen Programme is endorsed by the UN Decade of Ocean Science.