The shipping company Viking Line will intensify its collaboration with the University of Helsinki and donate 50,000 euros for research on the Baltic Sea. During Finland’s centenary this year, the collaboration will manifest in the form of the sea laboratories set up for children aboard Viking Line ferries.

“Viking Line operates various routes on the Baltic Sea on a daily basis. The ferries carry passengers through the most beautiful sea areas and archipelagos in the world. Until now, the company has not actively taken advantage of the opportunity to disseminate information about the Baltic Sea to its passengers. We will now together devise an information package offering passengers the opportunity to learn about the sea surrounding their ship along its route,” explains Professor Alf Norkko.

The material compiled by researchers caters for both young and old passengers. Short inserts and photographs about the Baltic Sea will be displayed on the ship’s screens, and for children there will be a Baltic Sea quiz walk as well as a sea laboratory for those interested in the work of sea researchers.

“By disseminating information aboard its ferries, Viking Line contributes to educating the public about the beauty and value of the Baltic Sea and why it should be protected. Viking Line has made active efforts to minimise its environmental impact and aims to be a pioneer on issues involving environment-friendly solutions on ships. As a researcher of the Baltic Sea, I appreciate such a policy,” says Alf Norkko.

Aiming at long-term cooperation

Viking Line also supports Baltic Sea research by donating to the University of Helsinki. In 2016 the company donated 100,000 euros for biological and environmental sciences, and this year, on Finland’s centenary, it will donate a further 50,000 euros. 

“The sea and the archipelago nature are important for us and our customers. We hope that our contribution for the good of the Baltic Sea encourages other Finns who are active on and around the Baltic Sea to follow suit. Together we can achieve so much more,” asserts Jan Hanses, president and CEO of Viking Line.

The funds donated by Viking Line will be used to hire a researcher.

“The researcher will focus on the environment of the coastal areas. The aim is to investigate the changes taking place in the coastal areas and how they affect the diversity and functions of this environment,” explains Alf Norkko, who is based at the Tvärminne Zoological Station of the University of Helsinki near Hanko, where Finland’s western and southern coastlines meet.

Most of the scientific research on the Baltic Sea conducted at the University of Helsinki takes place in Tvärminne and the station’s researchers collaborate closely with their colleagues at Stockholm University Baltic Sea Centre. Alf Norkko holds the royal visiting professorship for Baltic Sea research at the Baltic Sea Centre. Stockholm University established this professorship on the occasion of King Carl XVI Gustaf’s 70th anniversary.  

Alf Norkko has high hopes for long-term cooperation with Viking Line.

“The next step is a joint venture with Allas Sea Pool and their Baltic Sea centre, which will open this spring in Helsinki.”