The two explorers have dedicated their lives to inspiring action and global engagement on climate change and made history as the first women team to overwinter in remote Arctic Svalbard.
Sept. 14 naming ceremony in Svalbard
Svalbard is also where Hurtigruten began expedition cruising in 1896 and will hold the naming ceremony for the hybrid battery-powered Fridtjof Nansen Sept. 14 at Longyearbyen.
'Over decades of polar exploration, we have witnessed the significant changes and challenges our planet faces. Sponsoring MS Fridtjof Nansen gives us a strengthened platform from where we can increase global awareness and dialogue around climate change, and inspire active engagement and create more ambassadors for our natural world,' Strøm and Sørby said in a joint statement.
The vessel is named for the great Norwegian explorer, humanitarian and Nobel Peace Prize winner Fridtjof Nansen.
'As Nansen himself, Hilde and Sunniva are true pioneers,' Hurtigruten Group CEO Daniel Skjeldam said. 'Their dedication and enthusiasm for our planet is not only inspiring, and an extremely valuable contribution for change. They are true role models and amazing ambassadors for our shared values.'
Overwinter in Svalbard
In 2019-2020, Strøm and Sorby made history as the first women to overwinter solo on Svalbard, spending a total of 19 months at the remote Bamsebu trapper’s cabin, located at 78°N, 140 kilometers/87 miles from the nearest settlement.
With no running water and relying solely on wind and the sun for power — with polar bears as neighbors — the women conducted their 'Hearts in the Ice' project to seek deeper understanding of climate change. They were able to connect with 100,000 youth globally through satellite video calls.
Climate change and sustainable tourism as a tool for change
'Our aim has been to bridge science and citizen science, and to connect these spheres with NGOs, governments, students and the corporate world. People need information and inspiration. We spent time in the polar winter nights to shed light on some critically important questions such as: How do we, as a world community, best gather the strength of experts, citizen scientists, industries and other stakeholders, to solve the challenges we face together? It is important to both reach adults who can make a difference today and to educate and inspire the next generation,' Strøm and Sørby said, adding that 'By partnering with Hurtigruten Expeditions, we support their efforts in utilizing sustainable tourism as a tool for change.'
Hurtigruten Group is entering into a long-term partnership with Hearts in the Ice.