R/V Helmer Hanssen is especially equipped for activities in the Norwegian Sea and the Barents Sea, Svalbard and other polar areas.
The ship has multiple uses, but is designed for geological and oceanographic surveys in both open and ice-covered waters.
Helmer Hanssen is equipped with modern instruments, and is used mainly in the Barents Sea and around Svalbard.
The ship was built in 1988 and was originally a stern trawler. In 1992 it was converted into a research vessel.
Today the ship is owned and operated by UiT The Arctic University of Norway.