Ewa Wiberg greeting welcome for Crown Princess Victoria, Crown Prince Haakon
“The opportunities that Skagerak offers are quite exceptional. This vessel is one of the best you can get, not only in Sweden or in Europe, but in the world,” said Vice-Chancellor Eva Wiberg in her welcome speech to the Swedish and Norwegian royalty.
Photo: Johan Wingborg

The Crown Princess visited R/V Skagerak


Crown Princess Victoria, Prince Daniel, and Norwegian Crown Prince Haakon visited the University of Gothenburg's new research vessel Skagerak yesterday. The visit was part of an official programme to strengthen co-operation between Norway and Sweden, with a focus on green industries and a knowledge-based sustainable future.

R/V Skagerak is used in research, education and collaboration. The Vice-Chancellor at the University of Gothenburg, Eva Wiberg, therefore welcomed the guests with a speech that highlighted the importance of co-operation and well-founded knowledge to make good decisions for the future.

“The marine area contains many complex issues that are best managed in collaboration, both between different disciplines, different universities, and not least importantly: between different countries,” said Vice-Chancellor Eva Wiberg.

Ocean robots study the climate

During the visit, Sebastiaan Swart, professor in oceanography, talked about his research in the Southern Ocean. He talked about the importance of the Southern Ocean for the earth's climate, and about the benefits of using ocean robots since it provides the opportunity to collect data for a long period of time.

Sebastiaan Swart talking to the royals.
Oceanographer Sebastiaan Swart talked about his research in the Southern ocean.
Photo: Johan Wingborg

“We keep in contact with the robots via satellite. Thanks to the robots, we can fill important knowledge gaps about the air-sea fluxes of gasses, such as carbon dioxide,” said Sebastiaan Swart.

Research in Norwegian fjords

Marine geologist Irina Polovodova Asteman talked about her research on the recent decline in oxygen in Masfjorden, Lurefjorden and Fensfjorden on the Norwegian west coast, something that understandably interested the Norwegian Crown Prince Haakon.

“Hopefully, we will be able to say whether the decline in oxygen is due to either climate change, or increased human impact through fish farming, or whether it’s a combination,” said Irina Polovodova Asteman.

Built for research and teaching purposes

This autumn, Skagerak will go to Iceland and the Faroe Islands, partly for research on carbon transport into the ocean from melting glaciers, and partly to study the significance of the deep flow of cold water crossing the Faroe Shetland channel toward the deep Atlantic ocean.

Ship manager Louise Newman said that since the inauguration in October, Skagerak has quickly been fully booked, both for research, and by companies in marine innovation, but she emphasised that Skagerak also is made for teaching, with its large aft deck and large laboratory areas with room for many students.

“This is our first year of operation, but we already have a fully booked schedule, which demonstrates the need for this important capability for Swedish and international research,” said Louise Newman.

Louise Newman talks to the royals
“Skagerak makes it possible for researchers to deliver the knowledge and data needed to address key issues,” said ship manager Louise Newman in her welcome speech to the Swedish and Norwegian royals.
Photo: Johan Wingborg

Norwegian technology on Skagerak

The visit ended on the ship's bridge, where the Crown Princess, Prince Daniel, and Crown Prince Haakon listened to ship manager Louise Newman talk about Skagerak's technical capabilities, which some have been delivered by the Norwegian company Kongsberg

“From Kongsberg we have, among other things, a sub-bottom profiler that enables the user to see the layers of sediment and rock under the seafloor, and a multibeam echo sounder that provides information about the topography of the ocean floor,” said Louise Newman.