NorSOOP header5

Norwegian Ships of Opportunity Program for marine and atmospheric research (2018-2023)

NorSOOP is a project funded by the Research Council of Norway for 26.9 mNOK over 5 years to establish a ship of opportunity-based infrastructure to support marine and atmospheric research

The oceans account for about ~3/4 of the Earth's surface and produce about 1/2 of the oxygen that we breathe. The oceans are also important because they provide protein for human consumption through wild and farmed fisheries, they have a strong control on weather and climate, and they influence our health and well-being. A national infrastructure called NorSOOP (Norwegian Ships of Opportunity program) that uses ships of opportunity, such as container ships, ferries, and cruise ships, will be established by the Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA), Institute for Marine Research (IMR), Akvaplan-niva (Apn), and the Norwegian Meteorological Institute (MET Norway).The objective of NorSOOP is to support oceanic and atmospheric research and observations, and to help find ways to detect and manage human impacts on the ocean. NorSOOP will have ships that operate regularly in the North Sea, the Norwegian Sea (including coastal Norway and fjords), and the Barents Sea in the Arctic. The ships will be outfitted with state-of-the-art environmental sensors and samplers to measure physical, chemical, and biological processes in Norwegian waters. Some of the ships will also have lab space available for advanced tasks and experiments.

Funded by: Research Council of Norway, Research Infrastructure program, project number 269922

Budget: 26.9 mNOK (~3.1 million Euro) over 5 years; May 2018-May 2023

Partners: NIVA (project coordinator), IMR, Met NO, and Akvaplan-niva

Project coordinator: Andrew King (NIVA)

Associated projects: Horizon 2020 JERICO-NEXT, Horizon 2020 INTAROS

Primary objectives:
Coordinate and upgrade existing FerryBox ship of opportunities
Add 3 new lines (Lofoten Islands, Norwegian Sea, Arctic)
Develop and implement cutting edge environmental sensors
Provide on-board lab space for visiting researchers and experiments

Ships of Opportunity

Currently in operation: 
M/S Trollfjord (Hurtigruten): Bergen - Kirkenes (Norway) 
M/S Vesterålen (Hurtigruten): Bergen - Kirkenes (Norway) 
M/S Color Fantasy (Color Line): Oslo (Norway) - Kiel (Germany) 
M/S Norbjørn (Bring AS/Marine Supply): Tromsø (Norway) - Svalbard

To be upgraded during the project: 
M/S Norrona (Smyril Lines): Hirtshals (Denmark) - Tórshavn (Faroe Islands) - Seyðisfjørður (Iceland)

New regions that will be added during the project:
Lofoten Islands
Norwegian Sea
Arctic Ocean

color fantasy
Above: Passenger ship M/S Color Fantasy which operates a NIVA FerryBox system. Photo: Color Line.


Currently in operation:
"Core": Temperature, salinity, optical oxygen sensor, Chl-a fluorescence and turbidity
"Advanced": CDOM fluorescence sensors, membrane-based pCO2, and spectrophotometric pH sensors, and PAH fluorescence sensor, upwelling and downwelling radiance and downwelling irradiance sensors, short- and long-wave radiation, air temperature and humidity, atmospheric pressure, and wind speed and direction

To be added during the project (to be confirmed):
phytoplankton pigment absorption sensor (integrating sphere), dissolved nutrient analyser (NH4, PO4, NO3, SiO2), additional carbonate system sensors, greenhouse gas sensors (CH4, CO2), Pocket FerryBox for ad hoc deployments, flow cytometry and imaging camera, and fast repetition rate and pulse-amplitude fluorometers (FRRF/PAM)

Above: FerryBox sensor package including: (left, top to bottom) PAH fluorometer, cDOM and phycocyanin fluorometer, chlorophyll a fluorometer, turbidity sensor; (right; top to bottom) salinity/temperature sensor, debubbler, and oxygen optode. Photo: Kai Sørensen.


Currently in operation:
Refrigerated water autosamplers, active/passive contaminant samplers, microplastic samplers

To be added during the project:
plankton concentrators and samplers, aerosol/airborne particle samplers


May 2018

  • Project kick-off meeting at NIVA Oslo with 12 participants from NIVA, IMR, Met NO, and Apn
  • NorSOOP presented by NIVA Director Greta Bentzen at Ocean Week, Trondheim, Norway
  • NorSOOP presented by Kai Sørensen and Sjur Tveite at Spaceport Norway, Stavanger, Norway
  • Svalbard Integrated Observing System (SIOS) kick-off meeting attended by Kai Sørensen, Tromsø, Norway (NorSOOP ship M/S Norbjørn is part of SIOS)
  • NorSOOP presented as part of the FerryBox Task Team report to the EuroGOOS General Assembly by Andrew King, Brussels, Belgium
  • Kai Sørensen interviewed by NRK Østfold about FerryBox observations and NorSOOP

Upcoming events

Date Event Location
24-27 Sept 2018 JERICO-NEXT 2nd General Assembly Marine Institute, Galway, Ireland
3 Oct 2018 NorSOOP Steering Committee and Advisory Board meeting NIVA, Oslo, Norway
21-23 Nov 2018 EOOS Conference The Egg, Belgium, Brussels
24-26 Apr 2019 9th FerryBox workshop Genoa Aquarium, Genoa, Italy

Funding support for access to NorSOOP ships

NorSOOP has a total of 1.5 mNOK to support access costs (travel and accommodation) for researchers and students to carry out research activities on NorSOOP ships. Of this, 500 kNOK earmarked for students access only.

Application information

The application process for infrastructure access will be announced in ~May 2019, May 2020, May 2021, and May 2022. Please come back to this page later for more information, or contact us.

Last updated 02.08.2018