Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Finnish marine research was commemorated on May 7th, 1998 with two special stamps. One has a face value of 2,80 and depicts the research vessel of the Finnish Marine Research Institute, “Aranda”; the other one has a face value of 3,20 and has as its subject the famous Northeast Passage explored by the great Finnish scientist A.E. Nordenskiöld (1832-1901). The other stamp features the whaler Vega used by the expedition. In the background is depicted a part of the route. Both stamps are designed by Juha Flinkman, who is a marine biologist and a research diver by profession. Please also read my post Finland - The Discovery of the North East Passage dated 30.1.2010.

The stamps were issued as part of the “Pohjola-Norden” series, a joint project of Nordic Posts. This year, the theme of the series was navigation.
Finnish marine research celebrated its 100th and the Finnish Marine Research Institute its 80th anniversary this year. The “Aranda” vessel depicted on the stamp was assigned to the Finnish Marine Research Institute in 1989. As early as in the winter of 1989/90 (and again in 1995/96) the vessel set sail towards the seas of the Antarctic. “Aranda” continues its round-the-year expeditions on the Baltic and other seas of the world. In 1878-80, the expedition led by A.E. Nordenskiöld sailed around the Old World starting from the Northern coast of Siberia and continuing through the Bering Strait. The vessel Vega was a three-mast barque and it had an auxiliary steam engine. Nordenskiöld, who was a senior lecturer in mineralogy in Helsinki University, moved to Sweden in 1857 and was nominated professor in 1858. He became the director of the Swedish Academy in 1893.
S/S Aranda was a steam-powered Finnish ship that was one of the first ships able to operate between Stockholm and Finland even in icy conditions, later it was used in the archipelago sea as a passenger ship in difficult conditions. This ship was a part of reparations paid to Soviet Union after World War II. The second and third Finnish ships called Aranda have been marine research vessels. The third one, R/V mta Aranda is ice-enforced. Though not very suitable for high seas studies, the low draught of c. 5 meters allows the ship in many difficult places and it has visited both Antarctic waters and Arctic Ocean, including its normal operations on the Baltic Sea. It is registered in Helsinki. The ship can host 25 to 30 researchers. Maximum duration of operations is 60 days. This lovely cover was given to me by my dear friend Pia.

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