Vard Helps Norway Recapitalize its Coast Guard Fleet
After a year of outfitting at Vard Langsten in Tomrefjord, the Norwegian coast guard cutter KV Bjørnøya was christened last week. The Norwegian Minister of Fishery and Oceans Cecilie Myrseth presided over the vessel’s naming ceremony.
KV Bjørnøya is the second of the three new Coast Guard vessels that Norway is acquiring at a cost of $750 million. They will replace the vessels currently in service in the Nordkapp class, built in the 1980s. The three new vessels include KV Jan Mayen, KV Bjørnøya and KV Hopen.
This project is one of the largest defense acquisitions ever made in Norway’s maritime sector. The Norwegian Defense Material Agency is responsible for the procurement.
Vard Shipbuilding has already delivered the first vessel, KV Jan Mayen. The final hull, KV Hopen, is scheduled for delivery early next year.
The Jan Mayen class cutters have been developed for worldwide operations in all weather and sea conditions. Specifically, the vessels have an ice-strengthened hull for demanding operations in the Arctic Ocean. Further, the Jan Mayen class vessels can operate at sea for eight weeks without resupplying fuel and provisions. The vessels will also carry a helicopter in an enclosed hangar.
“This is a great day for the ocean nation Norway. KV Bjørnøya will, together with its sister ships, strengthen the ability to exercise authority and assert sovereignty in Norwegian waters,” commented Rear Admiral Oliver Berdal, Chief of the Royal Norwegian Navy.
With a large coastal zone of nearly two million square kilometers of waters, Norway’s Coast Guard has an ever-larger area to patrol, especially as the ice vanishes in the northern Barents Sea and the Arctic Ocean north of Svalbard.
This means the regions will be accessible for commercial shipping and fishing. Hence, the new coast guard fleet will have multiple tasks ranging from fishery inspections, search and rescue and oil-spill preparedness.