First hybrid-powered ship traverses Northwest Passage

The following is text of a news release from Hurtigruten:

(TROMSO, Norway) — This week, Hurtigruten’s expedition cruise ship MS Roald Amundsen wrote a new chapter in exploration history, becoming the first battery-hybrid powered ship to ever traverse the Northwest Passage.

As the MS Roald Amundsen arrived in Nome, Alaska, in the evening of Sept. 10, Capt. Kai Albrigtsen could make a monumental entry in the ship’s logbook: The first complete passage of the more than 3,000 nautical miles passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific, by hybrid propulsion.

"Every expedition cruise with Hurtigruten is unique, yet this green milestone is literally making history with our guests. Only a few years ago, building cruise ships with battery packs was considered impossible; now the MS Roald Amundsen pays tribute to the great explorer she is named after by traversing one of the world’s most fabled stretches of sea by hybrid propulsion," said Hurtigruten CEO Daniel Skjeldam.

For centuries, the renowned passage connecting East and West has spellbound ocean explorers. Norwegian polar pioneer Roald Amundsen made the first complete passage from 1903 to 1906.

"We have experienced gale winds, snow and ice. We have also witnessed spectacular sunsets, and striking scenery and wildlife. However, what has had the biggest impact on us, is how warmly we’ve been welcomed by the local communities along the route, just as Roald Amundsen himself was. Their unparalleled hospitality is what has made this a genuinely inspirational voyage," said Albrigtsen.

Equipped with large battery packs and groundbreaking technology, MS Roald Amundsen has made global green waves in the cruise and shipping industry after it was launched this summer. Using batteries to support its engines, emissions are reduced with more than 20 percent.

Having traversed the Northwest Passage, MS Roald Amundsen will sail farther along the coast of North and South America before spending the winter offering expedition cruises in Antarctica.

In the summer of 2020, MS Roald Amundsen will then return to North America for a series of expedition cruises in Alaska.

By Professional Mariner Staff