Upgraded sustainable ship launched

Hurtigruten goes green with the MS Richard With

Photo: Richard Cranna / Hurtigruten
The MS Richard With, seen here in Norway’s Trollfjord in Nordland County, is a state-of-the-art, environmentally friendly ship. In 2023, all seven of the Coastal Express ships will be upgraded to the same level.

Hurtigruten Norway

Last October, Hurtigruten Norway launched its first environmentally upgraded battery-hybrid powered ship, MS Richard With. It is the first of seven in the Coastal Express fleet to be upgraded and now features state-of-the-art technology that will significantly reduce both CO2 and Nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions.

“With MS Richard With back in operations as a fully upgraded ship, guests can sail the Norwegian coast on a quieter, state-of-the-art, and environmentally friendly ship, while enjoying a traditional experience unlike anything in the world. Over the next year, all our seven Coastal Express ships will be upgraded to be more sustainable,” said Hedda Felin, CEO of Hurtigruten Norway.

As part of a major effort to make Hurtig­ruten Norway’s fleet more sustainable, the company has invested over a million dollars toward green upgrades that will be implemented by early 2024. This move follows its sibling company, Hurtigruten Expeditions, introducing the world’s first battery-hybrid powered expedition ship, MS Roald Amundsen, in 2019. The expedition cruise brand now has three battery-hybrid powered ships in its fleet.

“Becoming a green company means investing in efforts with documented effects, such as the ones we are doing now. As a result, by next summer, we will have three upgraded hybrid ships sailing the coast, and our entire fleet will be more energy efficient, cutting CO2 emissions by 25% and NOx  by 80%,” said Felin.

MS Richard With has gone through extensive upgrades and been retrofitted with battery packages, brand new engines, and new propulsion systems at Myklebust Yard in Gursken in northwestern Norway. All Hurtigruten Norway’s seven ships will also be fitted with SCR [selective catalytic reduction] systems that cut NOx emissions by a massive 80% by early 2024.

“This is one of the largest environmental upgrades of its kind in Europe and the largest in Hurtigruten’s history. The fact that we have made these upgrades at Myklebust Yard, with as much Norwegian technology as possible, is no coincidence. Hurtigruten Norway has been a contributor to local communities for 130 years and will continue to be so when sailing, building, and upgrading our ships,” Felin said.

“Our goal is to get to zero emissions, and the work to plan the next generation zero emission vessels has already started. Until that technology has been pioneered, we are investing heavily in giving our existing fleet a green upgrade with the best technology available today, but our plan is to have the first emission-free ship in our fleet by 2030, and we’re working hard on achieving that,” said Felin.

Photo: Hurtigruten Norway
The MS Richard With underwent extensive upgrades at the Myklebust Yard in northwestern Norway, where is was fitted with SCR systems that cut NOx emissions by 80%. At Myklebust, the best of Norwegian technology was employed to make the ship as environmentally friendly as possible.

The green upgrades on MS Richard With include:

Conversion to a hybrid ship with two large battery packs (1,120kWh each) and new, more efficient Norwegian-made engines reducing CO2 emissions considerably with increased redundancy and safety;

SCR systems that cut NOx emissions by a massive 80%;

New switchboards and power management systems;

New propeller blades, new bulbous bow, new gears, and new control systems to minimize energy use;

New, modern navigational and maneuvering bridge systems;

Hull-optimization to reduce drag;

New boilers to improve heat recovery from main engines for reduced energy consumption used for heating;

New retractable azimuth thruster astern;

Installation of state-of-the-art wastewater treatment plants to minimize emissions to sea;

All ships in Hurtigruten Norway’s fleet already have shore power convertibility, eliminating emissions in ports with shore power available;

The large-scale upgrade means that all Hurtigruten Norway’s seven Costal Express ships will have emissions equivalent to Tier III, the strictest international standard for NOx emissions; and

Hurtigruten Norway will also use certified biofuels to cut CO2 emissions.

About Hurtigruten Group

Hurtigruten Norway operates the legendary Hurtigruten Norwegian Coastal Express, and is part of Hurtigruten Group, the world’s leading adventure travel group, offering unique experiences in the most spectacular areas on the planet.

The group aims to raise and set new standards for the entire travel industry, offering authentic local experiences while leaving a footprint to be proud of.

After an ongoing green upgrade of the Hurtigruten Norway fleet, the group will have six hybrid vessels. Hurtigruten Group stopped using heavy fuel oil more than a decade ago and was the first expedition cruise company to ban non-essential single-use plastic throughout its entire operation.

To learn more about Hurtigruten, visit: hurtigruten.com.

This article originally appeared in the February 2023 issue of The Norwegian American.

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The Norwegian American

The Norwegian American is North America's oldest and only Norwegian newspaper, published since May 17, 1889.