Signing by Director Tore Nepstad, Institute of Marine Research (Havforskningsinstituttet) and Director Alvaro Platero, Astilleros Gondan S.A. Shipbuilders.
- Welcome to The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and a very warm greeting from Foreign Minister, Børge Brende, who had wanted to be here, but was unfortunately not able to join.
- I am very happy to take his place, though, because I know the present vessel, Dr. Fridtjof Nansen quite well. I have been on board, and was really impressed by what I saw.
- It is therefore a great pleasure for me to congratulate all of you.
Today we are opening a new chapter in a long and proud history of marine research cooperation.
- This third vessel continue a tradition by carrying the name of Dr Fridtjof Nansen, known to us as an explorer; a diplomat; a humanitarian and a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate – last but not at least – a doctor of marine biology. Naming the vessels after him is therefore most appropriate.
- It is now 40 years since the first Dr Fridtjof Nansen was launched. This research vessel was at the core of the Nansen Programme, later developed into the EAF-Nansen Project.
- The overall aim has been to assist developing countries to develop sustainable fisheries management based on an ecosystem approach.
- The ships have done numerous surveys in southern waters. They have assisted in acquiring data on fish stocks and trained local researchers on board in fisheries management.
- Through this programme, developing countries have been able to improve their own fisheries management and to meet international standards. Namibia is an excellent example, and is now ranked as one of the top ten countries in the world when it comes to fisheries management.
- The new vessel will be a “state-of-the-art” research vessel.
It will open up new opportunities for marine research, including research on environmental issues and climate change.
- We know too little about how the changing climate will affect the oceans. The EAF-Nansen Project and the new vessel will therefore serve a double purpose, contributing to the global discussion on the impacts of climate change, and at the same time generating knowledge and providing training for developing countries.
- Our Government has put education on the top of the development agenda. This vessel will have greater capacity for carrying students and researchers on board, and providing training, and it will be possible to make better use of the data collected.
- Fisheries are part and parcel of Norwegian society, and sharing the knowledge we have built up over the years in this field makes a lot of sense.
- Before the actual signing takes place, I would like to thank Director Tore Nepstad at the Institute for Marine Research, and in particular the project manager, Mr Per Nieuwejaar whose extraordinary knowledge of shipbuilding, has guided us through the preliminary stages of this process.
- I would also like to thank the representatives of the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries, Director General Raymond Jenssen and Senior Advisor Kristoffer Krohg-Bjørklund, for sharing with us their valuable experience.
- FAO and Norad are partners in the EAF-Nansen Project, and I would like to thank you both for working together with us on this project.
- I would also like to congratulate Skipsteknisk AS for the beautiful design of the new vessel.
- Finally, Director Alvaro Platero, congratulation with the contract. I know that Astilleros Gondan has already built several ships for Norwegian ship owners who have been very satisfied with the result. With Spain’s reputation of high-level expertise in shipbuilding, I am sure this project will be just as successful.
Thank you and best of luck to all with your important work.