SLU news

Sweden’s new research vessel delivered to SLU in Spain

Published: 04 July 2019

Today Sweden’s new oceangoing research vessel, R/V Svea, was delivered to the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU). The delivery took place at Armon Shipyards in Vigo, Spain, where the vessel has been built during two years. The ship will shortly be sailed home to the new homeport, Lysekil, on the Swedish west coast, where it will arrive in mid-July.

The new research vessel is constructed for practically any type of maritime research and environmental monitoring and will initially be used by SMHI (The Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute) and SLU. The collected information is used e.g. for international sea and climate research and for deciding on fishing quotas.

Now it is formally signed: Laudelino Alperi Baragaño, one of the shipyards' owners, and Åke Dagnevik, SLU's chief negotiator in the vessel project. Photo: Armon Shipyards

The total cost of the new vessel is 445 million Swedish kronor, money borrowed from the Swedish National Debt Office. Rental fees and government funding will cover the annual cost of 55 million Swedish kronor for operation, interests and payments.

"Many shipyards were interested in the public procurement, three years ago, says Lasse Thorell, head of the Ship Management Unit at SLU. That is a reason why we now have an amazing ship at a reasonable cost. With a stable economy, we prioritize having the ship used as much as possible. There is interest from Swedish universities and agencies and we have had queries from Norway and Denmark."

Sweden has not had an oceangoing research vessel since Svea’s precursor U/F Argos was retired in 2011. The Swedish government gave SLU an assignment to buy and own a new research vessel in 2015. SMHI and SLU have rented ship vessel time on Finnish and Danish vessels in the meantime.

"It has been 45 years since Sweden had a new vessel of this type says Erik Fahlbeck, Vice-Chancellor at SLU. The new vessel offers new opportunities and reliable access to necessary scientific infrastructure; this is a great day for Swedish maritime research and environmental monitoring."

A several months long training and familiarization period for the crew and the expedition members from SMHI and SLU starts when the vessel arrives in Lysekil. SLU and SMHI will get to know the new vessel and the advanced research equipment onboard. The vessel’s first real mission will be in October 2019.

The vessel is constructed to be extremely silent; before its final approval, noise measurements will be carried out at an acoustic installation in the Norwegian Herdle fjord, to make sure that it meets the requirements in Ices 209, an international standard for radiated noise. The noise level must be low enough not to deter fish in the ocean until at a distance of 10-20 meters, as opposed to 100-200 meters for ordinary ships. The noise measurements are planned for September 2019. 

Contacts at SLU

Erik Fahlbeck, Vice-Chancellor, +46 (0)18-67 19 71

Lasse Thorell, Head of Ship Management Unit, +46 (0)18-67 15 07

Johan C Thorburn, Communications Officer at the Ship Management Unit, +46 (0)18-67 21 93


The vessel

R/V Svea is Sweden’s most modern research vessel. It is 69,5 meters long, 15,8 meters wide and it has a deadweight of 3 420 tons.

In addition to being extremely silent, the vessel is equipped with

  • trawls for pelagic and bottom trawling
  • drop keels for echo sounders, sonars and current meters (ADCP)
  • remotely operated towed vehicles ROTV) with sonars, CTD and cameras
  • a weather station and a ferrybox thar continously measures qualities of the surface water
  • a CTD rosette for water sampling and measurements of water qualities
  • specially designed laboratories for fish handling, water analysis and data management
  • side thrusters and an azimuth propeller that can be turned in any direction to keep the vessel in a fixed position.

Additional equipment and laboratories in containers can be taken onboard, the vessel is e.g. prepared for a remotely operated vehicle (ROV).

More information is available at

Armon shipyards

Armon shipyards, Astilleros Armon in Spanish, was established more than 50 years ago and since then more than 900 vessels of varying size and type have been constructed, that are in use on all the world's oceans and seas. The shipyard has capacity to make more than 40 vessels annualy and SLU’s new research vessel has been made in Vigo, one of the company's six shipyards. Armon shipyards is certified with ISO 9001 for quality and ISO 14001 for environment, which was a requirement in SLU’s procurement of shipyard.

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