Finnish Environment Institute orders research vessel refit and extension

Photo: Jaakko Helanto
Photo: Jaakko Helanto – The research vessel Aranda at Rauma Marine Constructions’ shipyard on August 3

The almost 30-year-old research vessel Aranda is undergoing an extensive renovation at Rauma Marine Constructions’ (RMC) shipyard in Rauma, including a seven-metre extension to the vessel, which will also become more environmentally friendly.

The Finnish Environment Institute’s (SYKE’s) vessel arrived at the shipyard at the end of July and will be ready for action again next spring.

Aranda is a key part of Finland’s national marine research infrastructure. Work performed on board produces research material essential for marine research and for monitoring underwater biodiversity and the environmental status of the sea.

Aranda is used by institutions such as the Finnish Meteorological Institute and Natural Resources Institute Finland, in addition to SYKE. In recent years, the SMHI, the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute, has also used Aranda in its Baltic Sea monitoring missions.

The purpose of the Aranda’s refurbishment and modernisation is to ensure the ship’s ability to function until the 2030s while reducing its environmental impact and operating costs. The refurbishment involves adding a new block in the central section and redesigning both the aft and after-deck. The additional metres will not only facilitate the expansion of research and laboratory spaces, but also the transition to a completely electronic power transmission in accordance with new research requirements.

“The refit will enable the Aranda to run on biodiesel all year,” said SYKE Development Manager Juha Flinkman Jof. “In addition, the vessel will be able to travel short distances on battery power only, which will not only reduce emissions but also bring down the noise level caused by the ship when at sea. This is not only a major improvement for the marine organisms studied, it is also important for the research itself since it will make hydroacoustic surveys easier to perform.”

Originally built in the Helsinki shipyards of Turun Laivateollisuus and Wärtsilä, Aranda was originally commissioned in 1989. The vessel is primarily designed for round-the-year research activities in the Baltic Sea, as well as for studying polar regions. In addition to the Baltic Sea, Aranda has operated in both Antarctic waters and the Arctic region.

The ongoing reform will improve Aranda’s potential for marine research in cold sea areas in particular, since only a few research vessels of the same size in Europe can endure Arctic conditions. The new hull shape and renewed power transmission will enable the vessel to navigate better than before, both in Baltic Sea ice and by the expanse of ice in the Arctic Ocean.

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