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ASENAV begins building hybrid-electric Magellan Discoverer for Antarctica21

The ASENAV-designed Magellan Discoverer is the first hybrid-electric propulsion ship to be built in Chile
Chile's ASENAV cut steel for Magellan Discoverer, a hybrid-electric expedition cruise ship for Antarctica21.

It will have capacity for 96 passengers and 67 crew and is scheduled for delivery in September 2026. When operating for Antarctica21's air-cruises, it will carry up to 76 passengers.

The price was not disclosed.

The 6,730gt Magellan Discoverer is the first hybrid-electric ship to be built in Chile, and it has a host of additional environmental features.

MAN, ABB and Corvus

The two main engines are by MAN and the Azipods are ABB's, while the energy storage system is based on Corvus batteries. The stabilizers are designed specifically to handle rough waters such as the Drake Passage.

Passenger features include spacious cabins and suites, a gym and sauna with panoramic views, an observation lounge, restaurant, mudroom, wet and dry science labs, gift shop and a running track. 

Sustainability and comfort

'This ship arises from our unwavering commitment to meet the growing expectations of our guests,' said Jaime Vásquez, president of Antarctica21. 'Equipped with the latest technology, Magellan Discoverer strengthens our commitment to sustainability while providing total comfort to our travelers. Its modern and advanced technical features represent our continuous effort to provide unparalleled experiences in the spectacular Antarctic region.'

The ASENAV-designed Magellan Discoverer measures 94 meters/308 feet with a beam of 17.2 meters/56.4 feet.

Waste heat recovery, biodegradable hydraulic oils and coolants

Aside from reducing CO2 emissions with its hybrid-electric propulsion, the ship also features a waste heat recovery system. The heating in public areas and cabins will use heat exchangers to collect warmed air before it is expelled outside, harnessing up to 30% of the air that would typically be lost through ventilation.

The elevators will have regenerative braking systems equipped to capture and convert energy generated during braking into electricity, recharging the ship's battery packs. This propulsion system will enable quieter navigation, ideal for observing wildlife.

All hydraulic equipment will use biodegradable oils to prevent water pollution. The same applies to the eco-friendly coolant liquid.


ASENAV cuts the first steel for 2026's Magellan Discoverer

'Once again, we are demonstrating that Chile has great potential to design and build innovative vessels that will set the standard globally,' said Heinz Pearce, GM of ASENAV.

Magellan Discoverer follows 2019's Magellan Explorer, also built by ASENAV.