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Hurtigruten charts a course for zero emissions with new expedition ship

The line’s Sea Zero project will incorporate technology including retractable solar panels and AI manoeuvrability.

Hurtigruten is aiming to be connecting Norway with an emission-free vessel by 2030.

Concept plans for “the world’s most energy-efficient cruise ship” have been unveiled by Hurtigruten Norway as the brand moves into a new chapter of emission-free sailing.

Expected to debut by 2030, the project known as ‘Sea Zero’ will feature 60 MWh batteries and wind propulsion systems, 50-metre retractable solar panel sails and employ artificial intelligence for manoeuvrability to ensure the ship operated completely free of carbon emissions.

Hurtigruten Norway is the sister company to Hurtigruten Expeditions and operates daily sailings along the Norwegian coast, delivering crucial goods to remote coastal towns.

The new zero-emission ship will be 135 metres in length with 270 staterooms accommodating 500 guests and 99 crew. The ship will have significant space for transporting cargo and vehicles in its crucial role connecting and supplying these Norwegian ports.

The vessel will feature solar panel 'sails' extending up to 50 metres.

With the new design, Hurtigruten Norway plans to eventually modify its entire fleet into zero-emission vessels which will leave a positive environmental footprint on both sea and land with less air resistance and improved passenger comfort.

Passengers themselves will also play a role in the ship’s environmental progress, using a smartphone app to control cabin ventilation and measure their water and energy consumption.

Sea Zero project ships will feature battery readings which will be displayed on the ship’s exterior, with ports to offer charging capability. The ship will also feature contra-rotating propellors, retractable thrusters, air lubrication, advanced hull coating and proactive hull cleaning.

Artificial intelligence data on the 34 ports Hurtigruten stops at in its key Norwegian coastal town sailings will be collected to determine the most efficient docking and undocking methods including how best to navigate poor weather and visibility.

Up to 500 guests and 99 crew can be accommodated onboard.

Hurtigruten Asia-Pacific Managing Director, Damian Perry, said the company was incredibly passionate and committed to improving its sustainability efforts.

We also pride ourselves on actually ‘walking the walk’,” Perry said.

“We’re an innovative organisation working towards developing a sustainable future that we are confident can change the course of the cruising industry and Sea Zero really speaks to the very heart of why we do what we do.

“It is also an immense privilege to be a part of something that is quite literally a world first – a zero emission ship, which puts us light years ahead of our competitors in terms of innovative development – and much needed, recalibration of the cruise industry.”

From here, Hurtigruten will embark on a two-year testing regime to further develop concepts and technologies for mainstream use before putting components into design and construction stages.

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Written by: Matt Lennon
Published: 9 June 2023

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