Extraordinary Experiences Spring 2020

Page 48








Antarctica By Kristen Pope

Travel through pristine Antarctic waters on the world’s first hybrid electric-powered cruise ship: Hurtigruten’s MS Roald Amundsen. Its sister hybrid ship, MS Fridtjof Nansen, launches in 2020. The wind is calm in Chiriguano Bay, Antarctica, as I climb from the MS Roald Amundsen’s expedition launch into an awaiting Zodiac. We motor over to join a raft of other guests for an up-close view of maritime history. On this November day, the MS Roald Amundsen – the world’s first hybrid electric-powered cruise ship – becomes the first ship christened in Antarctica. As the flotilla maneuvers into place, flanked by Hurtigruten’s MS Midnatsol, a playful group of penguins splash nearby, leaping from the water and diving into the crystal-clear Antarctic waters. This ship was custom-built in Norway’s Kleven shipyard and specially designed for polar waters with a PC-6 ice class. The ship’s hybrid electric-powered technology means it uses 20 per cent less fuel and emits 20 per cent less carbon dioxide than similarly sized cruise ships, with plenty of room to expand its battery capacity. It left Norway in July, sailing through the Northwest Passage before travelling along the western shore of the Americas and crossing the Drake Passage to Antarctica. While MS Roald Amundsen is the world’s first hybrid electric-powered cruise ship, it won’t be a solo act. The vessel’s nearly identical sister ship, the MS Fridtjof Nansen, will debut this spring. Hurtigruten is also overhauling (and renaming) three other ships which will be equipped with battery packs, expected to start sailing in 2020 and 2021. Hurtigruten CEO Daniel Skjeldam says the company is moving its fleet away from fossil fuels, switching to hybrid-electric batteries, liquefied biogas derived from fishery waste, and liquefied natural gas. “Our mission is to lead innovation in the maritime industry,” Skjeldam says. “We’ve chosen to lead by example and are going to [make] significant investments to reduce pollution from our ships with new technology.” 48 |


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