Lindblad Expeditions’ ‘National Geographic Endurance’ and ‘Resolution’ were the first passenger vessels built to meet the Polar Class 5 ice strength regulation.
This, coupled with the patented X-BOW design, allows the ship to spend more time in Polar areas, shipbuilder and designer Ulstein said in its latest news letter.
In the first week of January this year, the ‘National Geographic Endurance’ arrived at the remote Peter I Island near Antarctica, one of the three Norwegian territories on the continent.
The uninhabited island lies 450 km from continental Antarctica. Most of the year the island is surrounded by pack ice, making it inaccessible.
“We are always looking for new places to go, and with this vessel, Ulstein allows us to go to places we have not been able to go before,” said Sven Olof Lindblad, founder and Co-Chair of Lindblad Expeditions on signing the design and shipbuilding contract for the first vessel with Ulstein.
When Lindblad Expeditions first contacted Ulstein, it was because the shipowner had become aware of the X-BOW hull design solution. This design provides less resistance in the sea and thus reduces fuel consumption, Ulstein claimed.
“Through the co-operation with Lindblad and other major stakeholders, we created a vessel, from the initial sketches, through engineering and construction, into a state-of-the-art exploration cruise vessel, based on the owner’s vision,” said Terje Våge of Ulstein Design & Solutions who acted as Lead Naval Architect.
Våge added: “Environment and safety are closely connected. There are several rules and regulations for the design and construction of any ship. For a Polar exploration cruise vessel that is intended for operations in desolated areas, a few extra issues must be kept in mind.
“The Polar code and the Safe Return to Port regulation set requirements to enhance safety to protect both the vessel, everybody on board and the environment. The ‘National Geographic Endurance’, as the first passenger vessel, meets the Polar Class 5 ice strengthening regulation. This increases the safety and the season can be expanded by entering the Polar areas earlier in the spring when the nature is at its most beautiful.
“Two separate engine rooms and a double propulsion system is a part of the required enhanced safety. In addition, the two rotating propulsion units improve manoeuvrability, which is particularly important in ice infested waters. And due to potential long voyages, fuel and provision capacities are large and make the vessel capable to operate for about 40 days without new supplies.
“Emissions to air and water are limited by the strictest marine regulations and the engines are therefore running on low sulphur marine gas oil. No fuel tanks are arranged directly towards the shell. This reduces the risk of oil spill into the sea in case of an accident. The vessel has a treatment system for the ballast water to avoid the spread of biological organisms from one area to another, and she is designed to minimise the impact on marine life by causing low underwater noise levels.
“To minimise the power consumption, all lighting is based on LED technology and the waste heat from engine cooling water and from the exhaust gas is recovered and used for heating purposes and freshwater production. Environmentally-friendly solutions have been taken into consideration in the development of the ‘Endurance’ from scratch,” he concluded.