Hurtigruten introduces electric explorer catamarans

Written by Nick Blenkey
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This is the first rendering showing Hurtigruten and Brim Explorer's groundbreaking electric explorer catamaran MS Bard. From 2020 she will operate eco-friendly short voyages on Svalbard. Photo: Hurtigruten

Expedition cruise specialist Hurtigruten has partnered with Norwegian startup Brim Explorer to introduce battery powered catamarans custom built for Polar water exploration.

Beginning in the spring of 2020, a 24 m x 11 m vessel, the MS Bard, operating under the Hurtigruten Svalbard brand, will offer a variety of daily silent and sustainable ocean excursions from its homeport Longyearbyen on the Arctic island of Svalbard. Carrying 140 guests, with outdoor seating for 80, the hybrid catamaran will be able to operate on batteries for 10 hours with a cruising speed of 10 knots.

Hurtigruten Svalbard that provides year-round land-based adventure tourism activities and owns and operates three hotels and a number of bars and restaurants.

Brim Explorer’s first vessel, MS Brim, – similar to her sister that will operate exclusively under the Hurtigruten Svalbard brand – is currently under construction in Norway. Debuting in August 2019, she will offer Hurtigruten guests traveling along the Norwegian coast truly unique excursions:

Both explorer catamarans will also feature hydrophones and underwater drones from another Norwegian startup already partnering with Hurtigruten – Blueye Robotics. Their drones will be introduced to several of Hurtigruten’s expedition cruise ships, as well as all Brim Explorer experiences.

The battery powered catamarans will be custom built for Polar water exploration.

Hurtigruten and Hurtigruten Svalbard will also work closely with Brim Explorer to continuously improve and develop the green technology, such as integrating solar panels with the electric driveline to exploit the 24-hour Arctic sun to charge the batteries while sailing. Developing renewable energy stations in smaller ports for charging is another project under development.

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