Northern Xplorer signs LOI for zero-emissions cruise ship

Written by Nick Blenkey
Northern Xplorer ship

The Northern Xplorer zero-emissions cruise ship will have an ABB all-electric propulsion system including battery and hydrogen fuel cell technology. [Image: Multi Maritime]

Recently established Norwegian cruise company Northern Xplorer has signed a letter of intent (LOI) with Portuguese shipbuilder West Sea for what will be its first ship — and the world’s first zero-emissions cruise ship.

Northern Xplorer’s founder and CEO Rolf André Sandvik is no stranger to zero-emissions vessels. He was previously founder and CEO of tourism company The Fjords, whose fleet includes two all-electric tour boats —the Legacy of the Fjords and Future of the Fjords — built by Norway’s Brodrene Aa shipyard. Those vessels are 42.3 meter long day boats. The vessel to be built at West Sea will be a full-size 130 meter ship, designed by Multi Maritime and accommodating 250 passengers in 125 cabins. Delivery is expected to be at the start of the 2025 cruise season.

The ship will have an ABB all-electric propulsion system, including battery and hydrogen fuel cell technology. that will enable it to sail emissions-free in the Norwegian fjords and other locations.

Oslo-based commercial law firm Grønvigh, Tjersland & Indrevær DA was central to the work on the legal framework for the letter of intent, which was signed at the SMM trade fair in Hamburg this week.

“This is a new milestone in our journey towards emission-free cruise tourism,” said Sandvik. “After contacting shipyards all over the world for tenders, we are delighted to be able to undertake this exciting project in collaboration with West Sea. They are a modern and professional shipyard with a good track record. It is fantastic to be here at SMM to sign the agreement together with our technology partner, ABB, whose expertise has been crucial in the concept development of this ground-breaking vessel.”

West Sea intends to build the ship, scaled for 250 passengers, at its facility north of Porto in Viana do Costello. The yard’s cruise ships deliveries include World Navigator (built in 2021), World Voyager (built in 2020) and World Explorer (built in 2019), the first three in a series of seven polar expedition ships.
Best in class in technology.

“As a shipbuilder with a focus on advanced, high-quality vessels, we are very much looking forward to working with Northern Xplorer. We are proud to take the lead in the construction of such an innovative and technologically advanced vessel, which will have minimal impact on the environment,” said West Sea director Vitor Figueiredo.

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