Havila Kystruten`s latest ship, ‘Havila Castor’, made history on 2nd June when she operated the first zero emission cruise through the World Heritage designated Geirangerfjord.
Havila’s ships are claimed to be the most environmentally friendly vessels along the Norwegian coast.
With a battery pack of 6.1 MWh, the world’s largest battery pack on a passenger ship, the ships can sail for up to four hours on pure battery power. In combination with LNG, CO2 emissions are reduced by 30% and NOX emissions by 90%, compared to similar vessels that use fossil fuels.
The current summer season is underway, and thus the Geirangerfjord is open for cruise and ferry traffic. In 2018, the Norwegian Parliament decreed that cruise ships and ferries must sail emission-free in Norwegian World Heritage fjords as soon as technically possible, and no later than 2026.
“Even the weather was on our side and turned out to be much better than expected. This was a milestone for us. We proved that we can deliver on the future requirements from the authorities,” said Bent Martini, Havila Kystruten CEO.
‘Havila Castor’ used battery powered propulsion for three hours during the transit through the fjord.
“We spent just over 60% of the battery’s capacity on this voyage and that demonstrates to us that the goal of four hours on battery clearly is achievable. With even more testing and adaptation of all energy use on board, we will eventually be able to sail the entire world heritage emission-free without major challenges,” Martini added.
Martini also called for access to shore power along the coast.
“We want to utilise our battery power even further, but to do that we rely on having in place the infrastructure for shore power to charge the ship on clean hydropower. We hope this will be operational in selected ports of call soon. In addition, we plan for a gradual blending of liquefied biogas to replace the natural gas over time. This requires biogas to made available to a large enough extent to meet our needs,” he said.
The environmental foundation ZERO was also on board the ship during the voyage.
“This voyage is a milestone, the culmination of many years of work. Havila Kystruten has shown that it is entirely possible to sail emission-free in the World Heritage fjords now, four years before the requirements set by the Parliament. This should motivate other players to follow suit,” said Harald Maaland, transport consultant at ZERO.
“Now we must ensure further progress: The Parliament`s decision from 2018 must be regulated as soon as possible, and the requirement for zero emissions must be extended to apply to all fjords. Charging infrastructure in the ports must also be in place,” he said.
Prior to the change to battery operation, the passengers on board were encouraged to be aware of the use of electricity for mobile charging, light and heating in the cabin, in addition to the ship’s hotel operation to reduce her energy consumption.
“It requires some resources to cook for over 300 passengers, as well for lighting on board and to heat the ship. When we sail emission-free, we do everything we can to reduce the consumption of electricity, and sailing like this becomes a shared responsibility,” said Sandra Ness, Havila’s head of climate & environment.
Havila Kystruten also launched its new Eco-Voyager Programme for guests on board on the voyage.
“If we are to succeed in climate, environment and sustainability, it is important that we also involve our guests on board,” said Ness.
“The programme aims to give our guests the opportunity to get involved and make conscious choices on board, and thereby contribute to a more sustainable use of human and material resources. We want to inspire and encourage our guests to take small steps that affect everyday life on board positively in terms of energy, water, garbage, cleaning, and thus also crew, during the voyage around the coast,” she concluded.
The Eco-Voyager Programme was launched on havilavoyages.com, where guests can read more about the project, and see the checklist for what measures they can contribute to on their voyage.