Vision of the Fjords tourist vessel in Flam setting new environmental standards

Dual-fuel propulsion of diesel and battery power Dual-fuel propulsion of diesel and battery power

Cruise passengers visiting Norwegian port of Flam this summer have the chance to take a sight-seeing trip in the UNESCO World Heritage Listed Nærøyfjord on Vision of The Fjords, a futuristic carbon fibre tourist vessel.

Operated by The Fjords company, a jv between Fjord1, Norway’s largest ferry company, and Flåm AS, which works to promote Flåm’s tourism opportunities, the 40mtr long, 399-passenger capacity hybrid craft, was delivered by Brødrene shipyard in July. Designed with lines that resemble the zigzagging mountain paths of the Western Norwegian fjords it traverses, it allows passengers to climb over the vessel as they watch local mountains rise from the water.

Those who prefer to view the outside from inside can enjoy views in lounges wrapped by sweeping panoramic windows.

The passenger experience is accentuated by technology that, as The Fjords ceo Rolf A. Sandvik explains, was painstakingly selected to set new environmental standards for the pristine habitat it operates within.

'We and our jv partners are absolutely committed to a long-term strategy that safeguards the spellbinding nature of Nærøyfjord and its surrounding waterways,' he says. 'At the same time we want our passengers to feel as connected to that habitat as possible – experiencing something on Vision of the Fjords that is not possible on my other vessel here.

'With that in mind we opted for a dual fuel solution whereby we run diesel engines up to the entrance of the protected Nærøyfjord, before switching to silent running, emission free electric power. We also challenged the yard to create a special hull designed to minimise wake and thus reduce impact erosion on the vulnerable shoreline here.

'We want to put our customers at the heart of a unique voyage experience,' he stresses, 'but do so in an environmentally responsible manner. We believe the choices made here have set a new course for the future operations of our entire fleet … and hopefully all operators that sail here.'

The propulsion system is based on a combination of two 749kW MAN main engines and two 150kW Oswald electric motors, with ABB’s On-board DC Grid system managing and controlling the power between the diesel engines, propeller and charging station.
 
It’s a configuration capable of delivering a speed of 19.5 knots, slowing down to a leisurely 8 knots to allow passengers to immerse themselves in the UNESCO-listed beauty that surrounds them.

Sandvik concludes that the whole project was defined by collaboration, with an extensive list of suppliers, including MANCRAFT, Simrad, ABB and Naviguiding, amongst others, uniting to tailor the best available solutions.

The vessel won the Ship of the Year 2016 accolade at SMM taking place this week in Hamburg.

'We’re proud of everyone that’s contributed to this award-winning ship,' Sandvik comments, 'but we’re perhaps most proud of what it means for the future.'

He explains: 'Currently, most tourist boats in the fjords, including some of our own, are old and environmentally unfriendly, poisoning the very environment that attracts them. We have a vision, and dedicated owners with the desire and finances, to do things differently – putting nature first and pioneering tourist operations that delight customers while preserving habitats.'

He calls the Vision of the Fjord, which is scheduled to complete around 700 voyages a year, only the start of the journey and The Fjords is now looking to expand and renew its fleet of seven tourist vessels.

Posted 08 September 2016

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Mary Bond

Publisher/Editor in Chief Seatrade Cruise News & Seatrade Cruise Review