The world’s first hybrid cruise ship, Hurtigruten’s Roald Amundsen, last week became the first cruise ship to operate solely on electric battery power.
The Roald Amundsen, which is powered by a combination of diesel and electricity, is projected to produce around 20% fewer emissions per voyage than other vessels its size which only run on fossil fuels. Like its polar explorer namesake, the hybrid cruise ship will traverse the Northwest Passage, a sea route through the Arctic Ocean around the Northern coastline of North America. Daniel Skjeldam, CEO of Hurtigruten, said: “This opens a new chapter in maritime history. MS Roald Amundsen is the first cruise ship equipped with batteries, something deemed impossible just a few years back.”
Hurtigruten partnered with Norwegian ship yard Kleven to produce the Roald Amundsen, with a second hybrid cruise ship – to be named after Norwegian explorer Fridtjof Nansen – set for completion by 2020. Hurtigruten has exercised an option for construction of a third, as yet unnamed hybrid vessel; and holds a further option available for a fourth. Kleven project manager Asbjørn Vattøy said: “We are extremely proud of the [Amundsen], which is the result of a tremendous team effort of the Kleven employees and our sub-contractors.”
The launch of the Roald Amundsen and the associated potential for further hybrid cruise ship construction are in line with renewed commitments under official Norwegian ocean strategy to promote green shipping. The government of Norway has pledged to cut maritime emissions along its coasts by 50% by 2030 in order to reduce ocean pollution and protect biodiversity; meanwhile, the International Maritime Organisation has imposed stringent restrictions on shipping emissions to take effect next year, whereby ships operating after 1 January 2020 must have made the transition from fuel with a sulphur content of no more than 3.5% to fuel containing no more than 0.5% sulphur.