The Fjords DA, operator of seven tourist ships in the Western Norwegian fjords, has revealed the name of the latest addition to its fleet. To be christened Vision of The Fjords, the 40m long hybrid craft is designed to push the possibilities of green technology and passenger experience.
The 400-passenger capacity Vision of The Fjords, to be launched in June, is built from carbon fiber and has been designed with lines that resemble a twisting mountain path, complementing the scenery of the UNESCO World Heritage Listed Nærøyfjord it will voyage along. Passengers can climb the vessel as they watch the 1,800m mountains rise from the water, or enjoy the outside from inside thanks to sweeping panoramic lounges and windows.
The vessel’s dual fuel solution allows it to run diesel engines up to the entrance of the protected Nærøyfjord, where it then switches to silent running, emission free electric power. In addition, the vessel features a special hull designed to minimize wake and thus reduce impact erosion on the area’s vulnerable shoreline.
With these factors in mind, The Fjords CEO Rolf Sandvik explains, Vision of The Fjords was the perfect name: “Vision of The Fjords supersedes everything else on these iconic Norwegian waterways.”
“The name obviously relates to the unique passenger experience, as they become ‘at one’ with the nature that surrounds them, but it also encapsulates our own vision for the future of tourism here. We are accessing and showcasing some of the world’s most beautiful, yet vulnerable, natural areas. It’s our objective to do this in a responsible, sustainable and respectful manner.”
He continues, “Many of the tourist boats in this area, including some of our own, are 50 to 60 years old. As operators, we are drawn here by the pristine environment and then proceed to poison it. It’s our vision to demonstrate that there is another way – by building a fleet that utilizes the very latest clean technology
to preserve this ancient, natural treasure that surrounds us.”
Vision of The Fjords is currently being constructed by Brødrene Aa, a leading builder of carbon fiber fast ferries, who won the contract for the vessel in 2015 after presenting its design to The Fjords, Fjord1 and Flåm AS. The builder is on schedule to complete the 90+ million NOK project in less than a year from its original order date. The vessel will then transport tourists from all over the world along the fjord between Flåm and Gudvangen, using its battery power to silently cruise between the mountainsides at the pace of 8 knots. The vessel will complete around 700 voyages a year, running in all seasons, including winter.
“This really is a one of a kind experience,” Sandvik stresses, “but one that we’ll be looking to emulate in the future. We’re fortunate to be owned by Fjord1 and Flåm AS, two progressive organizations who are committed to world-class transport and tourism offers. They share our ambitions for responsible, environmentally friendly vessels that put passengers at the heart of the voyage experience.”
“With their backing we’ll be looking to expand our fleet with more vessels like the Vision of The Fjords. We take the environment we operate in very seriously and will work to safeguard it with ships that utilise the latest technology to deliver the optimum in green performance. These newbuilds will eventually replace our existing vessels, allowing us to minimize our emissions while maximizing the experience of a growing number of visitors to this incredible natural landscape.”
Vision of The Fjords features ABB’s Onboard DC Grid system, managing and controlling the power between its diesel engine, propeller and charging station. Jorulf Nergard, Head of Short Sea Shipping at ABB, says, “ABB is at the forefront of electric and hybrid power in the maritime industry with a number of key contracts across the passenger and offshore sectors. We are delighted that ABB technology is at the heart of the magnificent Vision of the Fjords.”
Vision of The Fjords
Length: 40 m
Width: 15 m
Materials: Carbon fibre sandwich
Class: DNV light craft
Main engine: 2x 749kW
El-motor: 2 x150kW
Propeller - CPP propeller
Battery pack: 600 kWh