For 20 years, the research vessel "Dr Fridtjof Nansen" has provided support for surveys of the fish resources off the coasts of more than 60 developing countries.
The Norwegian Government is now allocating around NOK 440 million to procure a new research vessel to replace "Dr Fridtjof Nansen".
The work to procure the new vessel will begin in 2013, and it is expected to be completed in 2016.
"We have used the research vessel Dr Fridtjof Nansen to help poorer countries survey their fisheries resources. Norway has valuable expertise and experience in this area," said Minister of International Development Heikki Eidsvoll Holmås.
The research vessel is part of the EAF-Nansen Programme. So far, more than 60 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America have received assistance to survey and monitor their marine resources, as well as training and help to improve the management of these resources. The research also focuses on climate change and the environment in African waters.
"It is of great benefit to Africa's ministers of fisheries that they have access to information of the highest quality about their sea areas. This can help to promote growth and better management of the natural resources," Mr Holmås said.
The vessel Dr Fridtjof Nansen has been in continuous use for almost 20 years. It no longer meets all the scientific requirements of the EAF-Nansen Programme. The estimated cost of a new vessel is around NOK 440 million, at today's value. These costs will be spread over four years. NOK 45 million has been allocated in the budget proposal for 2013 to cover the costs of concluding a contract.