April 25, 2019

ELECTRIC POWER: Hurtigruten’s third hybrid ship for sustainable expeditions is on its way

Words by Travel to change the world
Hurtigruten's leading the way with battery powered hybrid ships

Norwegian cruise line Hurtigruten is honouring its sustainable travel ethos by ordering a third, low emission hybrid powered expedition cruise ship.

The new ship will be able to accommodate 530 guests and will be based on Hurtigruten’s two next-generation ships, MS Roald Amundsen (Already launched) and MS Fridtjof Nansen. (Launching in 2019).

The Hurtigruten MS Roald Amundsen is the world’s first hybrid cruise ship and features hybrid technology, which means both batteries and fuel power it.

In 1911, Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen achieved the incredible, becoming the first man to cross Antarctica and reach the South Pole. Hurtigruten’s first new hybrid ship proudly bears his name as a symbol for pioneering polar exploration.

Already in the first phase, the new hybrid technology makes sailing on the MS Roald Amundsenwith electric propulsion for 15-30 minutes a reality.

Its sister ship, the MS Fridtjof Nansen will launch in 2019 and is very similar to the MS Roald Amundsen but can sail longer under total electric power.

Fellow explorer, Fridtjof Nansen’s claim to fame was that he was the first to cross Greenland on ski’s in 1888. Nansen was also a scientist, diplomat, humanitarian and Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

Annie Spratt via Unsplash

What’s the challenge?

Climate change has already removed at least 75 per cent of Arctic summer sea ice volume at rates never before experienced in human history.

Plastic pollution is widely recognised as the single biggest threat to our oceans with an estimated 15 metric tons of plastic ends in the world oceans every minute of the day.

If this trend continues, this number will double in the next 10 years. This means that by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the oceans.

While more and more travellers desire to explore the remote Polar regions, it’s imperative that these fragile eco-systems are explored in a sustainable, responsible way.

Both for future generations as well as for northern and indigenous communities whose livelihoods rely upon a healthy Arctic today.

Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen, 1911

What’s the solution?

Hurtigruten has been operating for over 120 years, and the Arctic was one of the first cruise line’s first destinations.

The locally born company recognises and understand the fragility of the polar regions and the need to travel responsibly and educate all who visit to preserve the environment.

In July 2018, Hurtigruten banned all unnecessary single-use plastic with everything from plastic straws and cups, coffee lids and plastic bags removed from all Hurtigruten ships.

Hurtigruten’s goal is to become the world’s first plastic free shipping company.

Hurtigruten CEO Daniel Skjeldam declares war on plastic in 2018

On top of the first two ship’s green credentials, the third new hybrid ship will be fitted with a number of innovative green features, including a substantially larger battery pack to make expedition voyages even more sustainable.

Hurtigruten CEO Daniel Skjeldam says the third “groundbreaking vessel” will take guests to some of the most magnificent areas of the planet, in a more sustainable and environmentally-friendly way than ever before.

Packed with state of the art technology and high tech gadgets such as touch screens and science equipment, the ships feature an immersive edutainment area where guests and staff/crew can meet, mingle and create a deeper understanding for the areas they explore.

The flexible venue will feature lecture spaces, a small library, and speciality areas for workshops in photography, biology, and more.

Hurtigruten CEO Daniel Skjeldam says he firmly believes that Hurtigruten’s “responsible and innovative approach to sustainable solutions, is the perfect fit for the modern-day explorer”.

Jonatan Pie via Unsplash

What will the positive impact be?

“The future of shipping is, without a doubt, silent and emission-free,” says Hurtigruten.

Using two sources of power reduces fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions by 20 per cent. In total, the two new ships will have a reduced CO2 emission of 6400 metric tons per year compared to traditional ships.

Put into perspective, this is the same amount of yearly emissions created by 5540 new cars.

“These are greener, more advanced cruise ships than the world has ever seen – and ships that will raise standards for the whole industry to follow, as we enter a new era of expedition cruising driven by sustainability”

Daniel Skjeldam, CEO Hurtigruten
One of Hurtigruten’s regular beach clean ups in Svalbard

To be able to sail using only electrical power is not only a great benefit for the environment, but it will also enhance the impact of experiencing nature for the guests. “Picture sailing into a fjord silently without any form of emissions,” says Skjeldam.

The third ship is expected to be delivered in the second half of 2021.

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How can you travel to change the world?

Congratulations! By reading this post and taking some of these insights on board, you’ve already made a difference.

Now you can easily create your impact by sharing your new-found knowledge with other friends who you think would also be interested.

Ultimately, responsible travel comes down to common sense – stay curious, keep yourself up-to-date with the challenges at hand and make yourself accountable for your actions on your travels.