Press release from UNIS

“It is with immense pleasure that UNIS’s new research ship will be baptized today, June 8, on the World Oceans Day,” said Nina Frisak, godmother, and deputy chair of the UNIS board.  

The baptism took place in the Longyearbyen harbor, with speeches and song by the local choir Store Norske Mandskor.  

The boat is named after Hanna Resvoll-Holmsen, who had her first field season in Svalbard in 1907, as a Master student in botany at the University of Kristiania. Her botanical contributions were very important for the protection of two areas on Svalbard as early as 1932 and for several protected areas later. Hanna Resvoll-Holmsen has been named Norway’s first nature and environment conservationist and several places in Svalbard is named after her.  

“The name came about after a competition we had among the staff at UNIS,” explains Charlotte Sandmo, boat engineer at UNIS. “There were several who suggested Hanna Resvoll, and as the first female Arctic researcher on Svalbard and a pioneer in environmental protection, we thought this was a very good name,” says Sandmo. 

The dream of a sturdy research vessel has been present for a long time, but was implemented in 2020, when UNIS had extra funds as a result of the pandemic and reduced student admissions. 

“The best thing about this boat is that we now can be out in the field all day. It is easier for the students to stay dry and warm, and the focus can be on the work to be done, not on being cold and wanting to return home quickly. Data collection can now be done in a safer and more secure way,” Sandmo concludes. 

Built in Finland, ready for Svalbard

The research boat was built by Kewatec Shipyard in Finland. Hanna Resvoll is 14.1 meters long and 4.2 meters wide and can accommodate 12 passengers and a crew of three.  

The boat will be used for everything, from mapping the seabed, collecting water samples, inspecting research buoys, to passenger transport. It has a larger operating area than the Polar Circle boats and can go 250 nautical miles without refueling. The boat is 1.4 meters deep, which means that it can go through Forlandsundet. 

Sandmo is very satisfied with the collaboration with the Finns. 

“No matter what modifications we have requested, there has been no problem. They have been fantastic to work with, and we are very pleased with the result.” 

Strategically important for UNIS

Director of UNIS, Jøran Moen, is happy that the boat is in place in Longyearbyen and pleased with the good field opportunities it provides students and researchers. 

“The studies at UNIS are largely characterized by fieldwork. For many of the students, the data collection takes place at sea, and having a safe and suitable boat available to do this is very important.”  

The boat is packed with advanced equipment and can participate in complex operations with speed and precision and has great range. Hanna Resvoll is especially designed to cover the full breadth of marine research at UNIS, Moen says.  

“The UN has designated 2021 to 2030 as the decade of marine research, and in this context, it is positive that UNIS can intensify fieldwork and research in the sea around Svalbard. For many purposes, she will be able to effectively replace larger research vessels and help reduce the environmental footprint,” Moen says.  

Hanna Resvoll will be used in fieldwork from 1 May to 31 October.  

Learn more at: The new UNIS boat is baptized - UNIS