Hurtigruten CEO Daniel Skjeldam has officially started the construction of the hybrid expedition cruise ship MS Roald Amundsen at Norway’s Kleven Verft shipyard.
When launched in 2018, MS Roald Amundsen will be the world’s first expedition cruise ship powered by hybrid battery technology. The hybrid engines will reduce fuel consumption substantially and allow for periods of completely emission free sailing.
The technology, in combination with the construction of the hull and effective use of electricity on board, are expected to reduce the fuel consumption and CO2 emissions from the ships by 20 percent. This amounts to more than 3,000 metric tons of CO2 per year, about the same as the yearly emissions of 5,540 new cars.
The hybrid solution was developed by Rolls Royce. In addition, Bellona, a non-profit organization working to meet and fight climate challenges, have been central to the project.
The Kleven contract includes the construction of two 140-meter (460-foot) ships with a capacity of 530 beds plus the option for two more ships.
With a number of other groundbreaking technical solutions throughout the ship, MS Roald Amundsen will be the most advanced and environmental friendly expedition ship ever built, Skjeldam says.
Last year, Skjeldam called for limits to be set on the size of cruise ships visiting the Arctic. The call came as Crystal Serenity sail the Northwest Passage, the first large cruise ship to do so. Without naming Crystal Serenity, Skjeldam said proportions are wrong when a vessel has five to six times more passengers on board than the communities they are visiting.
He said he strongly believes in big growth in cruise shipping in the Arctic, but called on international guidelines to limit the size of the vessels. He pointed to the importance of balancing tourism growth with sustainability. He also said that there should be a ban on heavy fuel oil in Arctic waters.
The MS Roald Amundsen 2018/2019 inaugural season includes expedition voyages to Antarctica and the Chilean fjords.