Brim Explorer’s green tourism sails on
Norway’s newest and greenest travel experience is under construction. In a few months, you can experience northern Norway from a modern and comfortable ship without noise pollution.
The founder of Brim Explorer, Agnes Arnadottir, decided to leave the family business that had been running safari rides for years with old diesel-driven fishing boats. When she wanted to build an electric catamaran, she had to leave the company. Her background included a bachelor’s degree from the University of Oslo, and a Master of Science degree from BI Norwegian Business School. Before she started on her own, she was a manager in North Sailing, a tour company in Iceland, and a policy advisor with Bellona Foundation in Oslo. She started Brim Explorer with Espen Larsen-Hakkedo.
Day cruises are a great way to experience nature, but as the number of ships grow, so does the environmental impact. Fossil fuel emissions, waste management, and plastic pollution are some of the greatest challenges. Now, there is also noise pollution. Noise waves travel faster and farther below the surface than in the air. They are especially damaging to whales, disturbing their navigation and communication. Instead of repurposing old fishing boats or ferries, Arnadottir wanted to build the first electric ship for sustainable, silent experiences and exploration.
The founders, with dedicated partners, set out to build a ship unlike any around. In March 2017, they quit their jobs and teamed up with designer Einar Hæreide, the small and daring Norwegian shipyard Maritime Partner, and a team of suppliers to build a unique platform for ocean exploration. With support from the environmental organization Bellona Foundation, the startup has combined innovative climate technology and knowledge from the tourism industry to create a travel experience truly unique and sustainable.
They named the ship M/S Brim. Brim means “breaking wave” in Old Norse. The ship is an all-electric, aluminum and glass vessel designed for green tourism. The 24-meter-long boat (almost 80 feet) is designed to bring the passengers closer to nature and keep them comfortable and warm in Arctic winter conditions. Three outdoor decks and two panoramic lounges with floor-to-ceiling windows offer uninhibited views.
Climate-friendly technology is not only necessary and possible, it also enhances the customers’ experience. Brim is equipped with an 800-kilowatt-hour battery pack, optimal for slow charging overnight, with the flexibility to charge in most ports in the country without large investments in charging infrastructure. Fully charged, it can sail for a whole day on 10 Tesla batteries; up to 10 hours with a cruising speed of 10 knots. The 140 passengers get front-row seats to take in nature and the experiences at sea.
The company is recruiting 10 employees to operate the boat. The entrepreneurs have been through the Katapult Ocean program, with 10 other ocean technology startups. Katapult Ocean has also invested in the company.
The entrepreneurs have just started to build their second ship, M/S Bard, that will offer sustainable cruises in Svalbard next summer. Their partner is Hurtigruten, the world leader in exploration travel. The shipping company celebrated its 125th anniversary by banning all single-use-plastics. In the winter months, Brim Explorer will operate its second boat in Tromsø. From October, the boat will be next to the landmark hotel, Clarion Hotel The Edge.
Adventure tourism is expanding both in Norway and internationally. There is a growing market for green tourism and sustainable alternatives at sea. The founders’ passion for the ocean and the environment is the backbone of the operation. As well as providing sustainable travel, their aim is to give 1% of the profits to ocean conservation efforts, starting next year.
Rasmus Falck is a strong innovation and entrepreneurship advocate. The author of “What do the best do better” and “The board of directors as a resource in SME,” he received his master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He currently lives in Oslo, Norway.
To learn more about Brim Explorer, visit their website at www.brimexplorer.com.
This article originally appeared in the July 26, 2019, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.