Boat tour operators Hurtigruten and Brim Explorer are planning the launch of a battery-powered catamaran, designed to undertake research-related cruises in Norwegian / polar waters. Scheduled to enter service in spring 2020, MS Bard will measure 24m x 11m and accommodate up to 140 guests.
The vessel is intended to run for 10 hours at a speed of 10knots, before the 800kWh battery arrangement requires a portside recharge. Hurtigruten explains: “The vessel will operate a variety of silent and sustainable ocean excursions daily, from her homeport Longyearbyen on the Arctic island of Svalbard.” Shipboard equipment will include an underwater drone, supplied by Norwegian tech developer Blueye Robotics, plus underwater microphones.
MS Bard will be preceded by a sister vessel, MS Brim, which is scheduled to make her debut in August 2019. Hurtigruten and Brim claim that their future explorer catamaran fleet will “integrate solar panels with the electric driveline, to exploit the 24-hour Arctic sun to charge the batteries while sailing”, thus extending the amount of time these vessels can spend away from port.