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More versatile use sought for the Aranda after refitting

Press release 2018-06-13 at 15:30
Merentutkimusalus Aranda
Research vessel Aranda © Panu Hänninen

The extensive refitting of research vessel Aranda will be completed this summer. The Aranda has been refitted into a modern marine research vessel and the objective is to expand Aranda’s national and international use. For this purpose, the Finnish Environment Institute made the decision in May to make an effort to look for ways in which to use the vessel in a more versatile manner. This will help ensure the Aranda’s effective and active research use in the Baltic Sea and possibly in the Arctic Ocean.

“The length of the Aranda has been increased by seven metres, and the vessel has been equipped with the newest technology. This state of the art product, which exemplifies Finnish expertise can now be marketed for international use. The Aranda’s use and impact will be considerably more extensive after this facelift,” Director General Lea Kauppi says.

“The Aranda’s new features have already garnered interest and we have already had talks about various possibilities,” says Paula Kankaanpää Director of the SYKE Marine Research Centre.

Looking for solution at the core of marine research

“Actions and deeds are the most fundamental aspect of work to conserve the Baltic Sea. For this reason, the central task of marine research is to find solutions for improving the state of the sea. The Aranda plays an important role in assessing the impact of various measures. Marine research will not dwindle, as Finland and other countries have shown great interest in gathering research data on the sea and on improving its state. This will require multidisciplinary research, which the Finnish Environment Institute carries out in cooperation with its partners,” explain Director General Lea Kauppi.

New methods developed for monitoring the state of the sea

Today’s marine monitoring is based on the monitoring of the open seas initiated in the 1960s and the monitoring of the state of coastal waters initiated in 1979. The Finnish Environment Institute coordinates Finland’s marine monitoring and numerous other actors take part in its implementation. Monitoring serves, in particular, the management of Finland’s water and marine resources, which is based on the EU’s Water Framework Directive and Marine Strategy Framework Directive.

“New observation and measurement methods as well as developed models will ensure the production and utilisation of better data on the environment and natural resources. The Finnish Environment Institute wants to be a pioneer in this respect as well. At the beginning of this year, the Finnish Environment Institute established a new strategic programme for the renewal of environmental data, which will aim to find new ways to produce information. Marine researchers will also take part in this work,” explains Director General Lea Kauppi.

Changes to research institute funding has also influenced Aranda’s finances

The funding structure for all research institutes have gone through fundamental changes over the past ten years. The Finnish Environment Institute’s budgetary funding has been slashed by more than one fourth meaning by 9 million euros. Last year, external funding through competition already made up 54 percent of the institute’s funding.

“These changes have also influenced Aranda and its national use. At the moment, a substantial share of the vessel’s operating expenses are covered with external funding, and Aranda’s use has increased significantly through versatile cooperation. During the past few years, the vessel has been at sea for nearly 200 days,” says Lea Kauppi Director General of the Finnish Environment Institute.

In Finland, the research vessel has been used by, for example, the Finnish Meteorological Institute and Natural Resources Institute Finland. The Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute has used the Aranda since 2014, but Sweden’s own research vessel will be completed in 2020, for which reason the institute will cease use of the Aranda at the end of 2019.

“Even so, I believe that there will be use and funding for the refit vessel also in the future,” Director General Lean Kauppi says.

Further information:

Lea Kauppi, Director General of the Finnish Environment Institute
 tel. +358 295 251 700

Paula Kankaanpää, Director of the SYKE Marine Research Centre, Finnish Environment Institute
tel. +358 295 251 099