Hurtigruten Norway has started a series of upgrades to its Coastal Express ships which it claims will cut C02 emissions by 25% and NOx (nitrogen oxide) emissions by up to 80%.
The upgrades were announced in May last year and will be completed across the line’s fleet by next year.
Under the plans, three ships will be converted to hybrid vessels, with MS Richard With currently being fitted with new main engines and battery packs at Kongsberg Maritime’s Myklebust Yard in Norway.
The work on MS Richard is due to be completed in August, after which MS Kong Harald and MS Nordlys will undergo the same procedures.
Three other ships – MS Nordnorge, MS Nordkapp and MS Polarlys – will also be upgraded, joining the seventh and final ship in the fleet, MS Vesterålen, which underwent a refit in 2019.
Hedda Felin, chief executive of Hurtigruten Norway, said: “This is the largest environmental upgrade in Hurtigruten’s history, and one of the largest of its kind in Europe.
“This will make a real impact in reducing emissions in Norwegian waters. The fact that such an investment also leads to ripple effects in the local communities along the coast, is something we are very proud of.”
Felin added: “Our goal is zero emissions, but the technology is not mature enough yet, and we must do what we can to cut emissions with the best technology available today and extend the service life of the iconic ships we have in our fleet.”
Hurtigruten Coastal Express operation is a sister company to Hurtigruten Expeditions, which operates expedition cruises.