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Hurtigruten to take its first hybrid ship through the Northwest passage

Hurtigruten, the Norwegian cruise ship and ferry operator, is to send one of its newbuildings through the Arctic North West passage over Canada next year.

Roald Amundsen is one of three confirmed hybrid expedition cruise ships currently under construction at Noway’s Kleven Shipyard in Ulsteinvik. The vessel has four Rolls-Royce four stroke engines and two sets of Corvus batteries. The other two vessels will be similarly powered.

The first ship in the series is running late in delivery, but its first cruises will start in early 2019 assuming the final fitting out and sea trials completed in time. While the first two cruises will be around North Europe and Noway, the vessel will then head across the Atlantic to start a 24 day voyage through the notorious North West Passage.

Hurtigruten CEO Daniel Skjeldam has been very vocal about challenging the cruise industry to improve is environmental and sustainable footprint.

He defended criticism of the decision to still use MGO as a main fuel in these newbuildings, pointing to the lack of fuel infrastructure for any other fuel or power sources in many of the remote places the vessels will visit. He is a vocal proponent of a heavy fuel oil ban in the Arctic.

Hurtigruten is also pushing through a costly and high profile conversion of its existing vessels. The plan starts next year with the vessels being converted to run off LNG and eventually biogas.

Skjeldam confirmed that Hurtigruten, with some funding from the Norwegian NOx fund, will be investing in building up the infrastructure for a biogas supply chain in Norway.

Time for change: Skjeldam has been critical of the cruise industry’s efforts to be sustainable

Part of the challenge will be to get access to fish and other mariculture waste as well as waste from the Norwegian forestry industry to be able to form the biogas. He acknowledged that LNG is not the best option but for the cruise industry, he sees it as a clear stepping stone in Hurtigruten’s drive to create a sustainable company.

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About Author

Craig Eason Stockholm
Craig Eason is the owner and editorial director of Fathom.World. He has a background in the shipping industry having started his career as a cadet on oil tankers and gas carriers before becoming a navigating officer on a range of vessel types. A change in career, with ensuing university studies, and he has now gained 20 years experience in written and broadcast journalism. He now is in demand as a knowledgeable and competent editor and event host and moderator, both for in-house events and ones for the public.