R/v Oceanograf set off for the North! BaltArctic Research Cruise


R/v Oceanograf has set off on a 33-day expedition beyond the Arctic Circle, to the Norwegian town of Bodø. Over the next few weeks, the UG ship will cross the Baltic Sea and the North Sea before finally entering the waters of the Norwegian Sea. Throughout this time, research on board will be carried out by an international research team from the SEA-EU universities. In parallel, research will be carried out on board the PAS Institute of Oceanology vessel r/v Oceania.

Gdańsk - Kiel - Bergen - Bodø - Malmö - Gdańsk is the route of the BaltArctic Research Cruise. Over 33 days, the catamaran will sail 2,900 nautical miles, visit five cities, and make 15 research stops.

prof. Jan Marcin Węsławski i prof. UG Anna Jurkowska-Zeidler

prof. Jan Marcin Węsławski and prof. UG Anna Jurkowska-Zeidler

‘The BaltArctic Research Cruise is a triumph of European cooperation, but also a continuation of the Polish tradition of polar research,’ says Vice-Rector for International Cooperation, dr hab. Anna Jurkowska-Zeidler, prof. UG. ‘You could say that we are sailing on the last Baltic wave to see how far the influence of our sea reaches. We are doing this together as an alliance of SEA-EU European universities, but also as Polish marine research institutions.’

R/v Oceanograf sailed from Dalmor Harbour on June 3 at 12:00 p.m. and will not return until July 5. During this time, scientists from all over Europe will conduct research on board. At one stage of the expedition, the r/v Oceanograf will sail together with the IO PAS ship r/v Oceania. The joint voyage of the two Polish research vessels is a unique opportunity to combine the scientific activities of the two institutions and to use the full potential of both vessels.

‘It is very important to show the Norwegians the potential of marine research in Poland. The fact that two Polish research vessels will enter the harbour in Bodø sends out a really nice signal,' says the Director of the Institute of Oceanology of the Polish Academy of Sciences, prof. dr hab. Jan Marcin Węsławski. ‘In fact, cooperation between our institutions has always existed; most of our staff graduated in oceanography from the UG. We all know each other very well, we run many joint projects, and now, for the first time, we will be sailing in two ships.’

The cruise involves tracing the spread of the waters flowing from the Baltic to the Arctic, together with investigating the fate of the chemicals they contain, potential pollutants (e.g. microplastics, heavy metals), and the living organisms they carry. During the voyage, research and observations will be carried out in parallel on both ships. It is planned to measure the properties of seawater and aerosols and take samples of water and marine organisms for further laboratory studies. This will provide answers to questions about the extent of Baltic-derived brackish water organisms in the Nordic seas of high salinity, the nature of the northward outflow of Baltic waters, and how far north they are still detectable.

dr Justyna Kobos

dr Justyna Kobos

‘First of all, I will study phytoplankton, which is different in the northern seas and the Baltic Sea. I am particularly interested in toxic species: in the Baltic, they are mainly blue-green algae (cyanobacteria), while in the high-salinity seas and oceans, they include dinoflagellates and diatoms,' says a member of the research team, dr Justyna Kobos. ‘I'm very excited because this is my first cruise on this scale and there really is a lot to study.’

The author of crime novels, and winner of the 2014 Polityka Passport, Zygmunt Miłoszewski, who will be keeping the ship’s logbook, will give his perspective on the scientists' activities, life on board, and all the other events of the voyage.


The next stop of the UG ship is Kiel (the ship arrives there on 6.06.2024), where foreign scientists from SEA-EU partner universities will board. Residents of the German city will be able to visit the most advanced research vessel to sail the Baltic, while students of Kiel University will have the opportunity to take part in a creative writing workshop led by Zygmunt Miłoszewski.

Keep up to date with cruise events.

MJ/PT, photo by Alan Stocki