One of, probably, the most growing trends in the world today is going green. With the worsening condition of global warming and climate change comes the urgency for us people, both in the society, government and in the private sectors to think of possible ways to minimize our impact on the environment. The Earth is warming, and we are feeling most of its effect today. Urgency on this worldwide issue is needed today more than ever.
When it comes to environment and sustainability, many cruise lines and cruise ship operators are failing in controlling its carbon footprints and treating its sewage, thereby producing more greenhouse gases that contribute to the worsening condition of global warming.
With the arrival of the world’s first hybrid cruise ship in the Port of Vancouver, arise a new milestone for the cruise industry to manufacture and develop environmentally friendly cruise ships. This is a breakthrough that could turn the tide in the war against ocean pollution and climate change. Hurtigruten’s MS Roald Amundsen, the new hybrid electric-powered expedition ship had started its maiden voyage on July 3rd, 2019 from the Norwegian port Tromso to Hamburg. The vessel is named after Roald Amundsen, the first Norwegian explorer to navigate the Northwest Passage by boat and the first person to cross Antarctica reaching the South Pole. This state of the art vessel has new and environmentally sustainable hybrid technology that will reduce fuel consumption and CO2-emissions by 20 percent with its electrical propulsion. It is hoped that the arrival of the new fleet will lead the way towards an even more sustainable way of traveling especially in the cruise industry. Like any other ship, MS Roald Amundsen can also be tracked on a live ship map like marinetraffic24, so passengers can still monitor the location and position of the ship at sea.
As one of the largest cruise operator in polar waters, Hurtigruten offers immersive cruise experience to some of the world’s most remote and pristine destinations such as Alaska, Antarctica, Arctic Canada, and Northwest Passage, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, and more.
A ban on the single-use plastics and the goal of being emission-free within 20 years has been included in Hurtigruten’s sustainability policies. Its new ship also uses a large bank of batteries to supplement the power of its main engine, and the excess and unneeded energy from the engines is stored in the batteries which will be used when the engine needs extra energy. The ship also has an option to run for a period of time using battery power alone, thereby using no fuel and creating zero-emission at this time.
The ship is now in Vancouver, British Columbia preparing for a season of expedition cruises in Antarctica. The Norwegian cruise operator’s second hybrid-powered ship, the MS Fridtjof Nansen will debut in 2020, and a third, still unnamed will be delivered in 2021. The company’s next generation of ships along with the half- dozen existing ships will run on a mixture of battery power, liquefied natural gas, and biogas made from dead fish. As Daniel Skjeldam, Hurtigruten CEO had explained that the waste from the fish in the ship and from the fish farming industry will go into production plant that generates gas for their ships, as well as creating fertilizer for the agriculture industry.
Though the commitment to far-reaching sustainability practices is an expensive proposition, Skjeldam believes that passengers would want to visit pristine and beautiful places onboard a ship that takes nature seriously. The company is still expecting the technology to be cheaper in the future.
Aside from Hurtigruten, other cruise lines like Norwegian Cruise Line Partners are taking the initiative for greener travel. They had recently announced that by January 1, 2020, they have a goal of replacing all single-use plastic bottles on all of its fleets. Lindblad Expeditions had also announced its intention of becoming a carbon-neutral company by making an investment to offset 100 percent of its emissions.
The Cruise Lines International Association is also working to meet its goal of reducing the rate of carbon emissions of the global cruise industry by 40 percent by 2030.