April 26, 2018
(1:30 p.m. BST) -- In an effort to be more environmentally conscious, Hurtigruten will retrofit as many as nine of its vessels with hybrid power and eliminate single-use plastics onboard its ships.
The line has signed a letter of intent with Rolls-Royce Marine, which will provide the equipment and technology necessary to convert six of the fleet's vessels from diesel fuel to a combination of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and battery power. There will also be an option to outfit three additional ships with these alternate power sources, which are projected to reduce emissions by up to 25 percent.
The retrofitting will begin immediately and conclude by 2021.
"We have been operating along in the Arctic and along the Norwegian coast for 125 years and are conscious about conserving these amazing areas for generations of explorers and travellers to come," Hurtigruten CEO Daniel Skjeldam said in a statement.
Further, Hurtigruten said that its goal is "to become the world's first plastic-free shipping company."
The line plans to remove all single-use plastics -- everything from straws and bags to disposable coffee cup lids and cutlery -- from its ships and its land-based establishments in Svalbard by July 2.
"There is a lot of talk about the impact plastic has on our oceans, but it's time to take action," Skjeldam said. "By getting rid of single-use plastic onboard all ships ... by this summer, we will hopefully get others to follow. No one can win the war on plastic alone without allies."
Other cruise lines, such as Costa and P&O Cruises, are working on incorporating LNG-powered ships into their fleets, and several -- including Cunard, P&O Cruises, Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and Azamara -- have already committed to removing single-use plastics from their ships or greatly reducing their use.
--By Ashley Kosciolek, Editor