RV Lance

Lance is a research and expedition vessel, used by the Norwegian Polar Institute and cooperating institutions. She operates primarily in the Arctic, but has also been used for Antarctic expeditions. Lance’s home base is Tromsø, Norway. During the summer season she normally operates out of Longyearbyen, Svalbard.

Tent on the ice, at dusk, with Lance in the background.

Lance during a scientific cruise in Svalbard. Photo: Paul Dodd / Norwegian Polar Institute

Hire Lance

At available times, it is possible to hire Lance for cruises, expeditions, scientific cruises and transport – with or without helicopter.

Cruise plan for Lance (PDF 0.2MB)



  • +8816 3141 4030 (Iridium 1 sat. phone)
  • +8816 7770 2602 (Iridium 2 sat. phone)
  • +8816 7770 2603 (Iridium 3 sat. phone)
  • +870 7641 38667 (Inmarsat sat. phone)
  • +47 900 19 346 (Duty officer GSM – in harbor only)


  • Passengers / cruise participants: (place the name of the receiver i the subject field)
  • Master:

The history

RV Lance in the ice

From a cruise with RV Lance to the Fram Strait between Greenland and Svalbard in September of 2006. Photo: Sebastian Gerland / Norwegian Polar Institute

Lance was launched in 1978 as a combined fishing and sealing vessel for arctic waters. At the time she proved too large and expensive to run, and her career as a fishing vessel was brief.

Seeing Lance’s potential for other tasks, the Norwegian Hydrographic Service acquired her in 1981, and she was rebuilt to meet requirements as a hydrographic survey vessel also suitable for research, expeditions and oil recovery purposes.

She was rebuilt again in 1992 to meet requirements for research expeditions in the Antarctic and the Arctic. The Norwegian Hydrographic Service operated Lance until 1994, using her both as a survey vessel and as a research vessel for the Norwegian Polar Institute and other institutions. In 1994 she was handed over to the Norwegian Polar Institute. In the period 1995–2000 Lance also served as a coastguard vessel in the Barents Sea for parts of the year (hence the grey colour scheme in some pictures).