Rolls-Royce Marine has won the contract for the conversion work on the vessels, which will include installation of new battery-supported gas engines, new propellers and other “environmental solutions”, Hurtigruten announced on Friday.
“Hurtigruten’s ships will be as efficient and green as if they were brand new,” Rolls-Royce Marine’s VP product sales and advanced offerings Astrid Opsjøen said in a press release.
In the press statement, the ferry operator called the conversion “the largest environmental upgrade in the history of the company”.
The company is also reported to have consulted environmentalist NGO Bellona on its choice of new technology.
“Hurtigruten’s investment is showing the way forward. Along with other Norwegian maritime suppliers, Hurtigruten is delivering solid environmental improvements through its choice of technology and fuel,” Bellona maritime consultant Sigurd Enge said in the ferry company’s press statement.
The deal with Rolls-Royce Marine comprises an upgrade from diesel power on six Hurtigruten ships, with an option on a further three. Work on the first six vessels is scheduled to be completed by January 21st, 2021.
Often praised as one of the world's most beautiful voyages, the ferry service celebrates its 125th birthday in 2018.
The ferry’s route stretches from Bergen in the south to Kirkenes in the north, stopping at 34 different locations. The Express Route is considered a quintessential Norwegian experience.
“This is an investment in the future and a historic day for us, for the environment and for the entire Norwegian coast. The combination of battery packs and the most environmentally friendly gas engines on the market will give enormous environmental benefits,” Hurtigruten CEO Daniel Skjeldam said.