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Hurtigruten’s new hybrid-powered ship traverses Northwest Passage

roald amundsen officers
Capt. Kai Albrigtsen (center) and his crew completed Roald Amundsen’s historical Northwest Passage transit Tuesday evening in Nome, Alaska PHOTO: Karsten Bidstrup/Hurtigruten
Hurtigruten's Roald Amundsen wrote a new chapter in exploration history as the first hybrid battery-powered ship to traverse the Northwest Passage.

As Roald Amundsen arrived at Nome, Alaska, the evening of Sept. 10, Capt. Kai Albrigtsen wrote in the logbook: ‘The first complete passage of the more than 3.000-nautical-mile passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific, by hybrid propulsion.’

Paying tribute to the ship's namesake

‘Only a few years ago, building cruise ships with battery packs was considered impossible,’ Hurtigruten CEO Daniel Skjeldam said. ‘Now the MS Roald Amundsen pays tribute to the great explorer she is named after by traversing one of the world’s most fabled stretches of sea by hybrid propulsion.’

Norwegian polar pioneer Roald Amundsen made the first complete passage from 1903 to 1906.

Gale winds, snow, ice ... and warm welcomes

‘We have experienced gale winds, snow and ice,’ Albrigtsen added. ‘We have also witnessed spectacular sunsets and striking scenery and wildlife. However, what has had the biggest impact on us is how warmly we’ve been welcomed by the local communities along the route, just as Roald Amundsen himself was. Their unparalleled hospitality is what has made this a genuinely inspirational voyage.’

20% reduction in harmful air emissions

Equipped with large battery packs and groundbreaking technology, Roald Amundsen has made global green waves after entering service in the summer. Using batteries to support its engines, air emissions are reduced more than 20%.

Roald Amundsen will now sail further along the coasts of North and South America before spending the austral summer in Antarctica, where its official naming will take place.

Following the Antarctica season, the ship will return to North America for a series of expedition cruises in Alaska.

See the September issue of Seatrade Cruise Review for an in-depth report on Roald Amundsen.