Perched like an old battleship, the black bow juts into the murky July sky in the Port of Hamburg. The "MS Roald Amundsen", the new flagship of Hurtigruten, is waiting for the first passengers. According to the Norwegian shipping company, the ship is said to herald "a new era of expedition voyage".
The new chapter starts with the dimensions: With a length of 140 meters and a size of 20,900 GT, the new building not only exceeds the dimensions of all other mail boats of the shipping company, but is also one of the largest expedition ships in the industry with 530 guests. For comparison: The new "Hanseatic nature" of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises takes 230 guests with and limited to Antarctic trips to 199 passengers.
Inside, the "Roald Amundsen" smells like a new car in the public areas. It was not until the end of June that Hurtigruten took over the world's first hybrid-operated expedition ship from the Norwegian shipyard Kleven and set off on a maiden voyage in Norwegian waters at the beginning of July. The first longer trip went to the new building for a day to Hamburg.
The Drive Revolution on Deck 1 of the "Roald Amundsen"
The special feature of the "Amundsen" is the drive. Instead of a machine with a shaft and a screw, two powerful electropods in the rear provide propulsion. Their electric motors draw their energy not only from the four Rolls-Royce engines, each with a capacity of 3600 kilowatts, but also from batteries that can store excess energy in two battery rooms on deck 1.
This hybrid technology makes the ship suitable for sensitive Arctic and Antarctic shipping areas. According to Jan Andreas Grønås, the chief engineer of the "Roald Amundsen", the ship can only drive electrically and thus almost silently for up to half an hour at very slow speeds. For the shipping company this means a reduction of CO in addition to the fuel savings2Emissions by up to 20 percent – makes 3000 tons per year.
This is a first step towards more environmentally friendly cruises, especially as the "Roald Amundsen" refrains from burning sulphurous heavy oil and bunkers only marine diesel in their tanks.
The stored energy in the batteries should, however, after the departure in the port of Hamburg in pure electric drive at most extend to the ship welcome facility in Wedel Elbabwärts.