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First Hybrid Cruise Ship Sails Northwest Passage

MS Roald Amundsen on her way through the Northwest passage. PHOTO: Karsten Bidstrup/Hurtigruten
MS Roald Amundsen on her way through the Northwest passage. PHOTO: Karsten Bidstrup/Hurtigruten

By The Maritime Executive 2019-09-11 19:03:19

This week, Hurtigruten’s expedition cruise ship MS Roald Amundsen became the first battery-hybrid powered ship to sail over 3,000 nautical miles through the Northwest Passage.

The MS Roald Amundsen, under the command of Captain Kai Albrigtsen, arrived Nome, Alaska, in the evening of September 10. “We have experienced gale winds, snow and ice. We have also witnessed spectacular sunsets, and striking scenery and wildlife. However, what has had the biggest impact on us, is how warmly we’ve been welcomed by the local communities along the route, just as Roald Amundsen himself was. Their unparalleled hospitality is what has made this a genuinely inspirational voyage,” says Albrigtsen.

Norwegian polar pioneer Roald Amundsen made the first complete passage from 1903 to 1906.

Hurtigruten is investing in an eco-friendly refit program for three of its existing vessels - the 2002-built Finnmarken, 2002-built Trollfjord and 2003-built Midnatsol. All three will be repowered with new Tier 3-compliant engines, along with battery packs and hybrid drive systems. This will make them the second, third and fourth hybrid cruise ships in the world (after the MS Roald Amundsen). They will also receive new shore power connection systems. The Finnmarken will be the first to receive the upgrade in 2020, followed by Trollfjord and Midnatsol in 2021. 

Having traversed the Northwest Passage, MS Roald Amundsen will sail further along the coast of North and South America, before spending the winter offering expedition cruises in Antarctica. She will be the first ship in history to be named in Antarctica. In the summer of 2020, MS Roald Amundsen will then return to North America, for a series of expedition cruises in Alaska.