Norwegian Hurtigruten has begun its environmental ship upgrade program, said to be the largest in its history, to cut CO2 emissions and pursue the zero-emissions goal.

In this program, three of the seven ships will be converted to hybrid ships, beginning with MS Richard With. The vessel is currently at Myklebust Yard in northwestern Norway, where it will be fitted with new main engines and battery packs.

MS Richard With in Myklebust Yard to install new engines and large batteries, making the ship hybrid powered. Photo: Myklebust Yard/Hurtigruten

As informed, MS Richard With will return from the yard on 9 August. MS Kong Harald will then set sail for Myklebust Yard to do similar upgrades. MS Nordlys will follow, and in summer 2023 all ships in the Costal Express will be fully upgraded.

Maritime technology group Kongsberg Maritime is responsible for design work and upgrades on the three ships.

According to the company, the rebuilt ships will cut CO2 emissions by 25% and NOx emissions by as much as 80%.

Three other ships, MS Nordnorge, MS Nordkapp and MS Polarlys, will also be upgraded, and have SCR facilities installed onboard. This will reduce NOx emissions by 80%. The last ship in the fleet, MS Vesterålen, was upgraded with new engines and SCR facilities back in 2019.

The upgrades also include several other small and large changes such as new propeller blades, hull optimisation, new bulbous bow, new gears, generators, and new control systems as well as the installation of wastewater treatment plants to minimise emissions to sea.

Hurtigruten Norway also plans on using certified biofuels on a large scale to cut CO2 emissions. Following the upgrades, the company’s fleet will have six hybrid vessels.

“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”, said Hedda Felin, CEO, Hurtigruten Norway.

“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 … ships we have in our fleet.”

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