Hybrid tourist vessel enters service

Paul Gunton

Paul Gunton · 30 October 2019


A newly established Norwegian ship operator has debuted an innovative vessel. The award-winning electric ship Brim Explorer has entered service in Tromsø as one of the world’s first hybrid-electric powered aluminium whale watching vessels.

The vessel, built at Maritime Partner shipyard in Ålesund, Norway has been constructed to go beyond even the very latest of environmental requirements. Following a month of tests and the official launch and naming ceremony, it is now in its home port of Tromsø.

Bvrim explorer

Large crowds gathered to witness the ceremony, taking an opportunity to appreciate the silent operations of the unique hybrid electric vessel, designed specifically to meet growing environmental requirements now and in the future, while allowing tourists to witness the peaceful beauty of the North Norwegian Fjords without the noise and vibration of a normal ship engine running on diesel.

“This has been super rewarding even though it has been hard work,” said Brim chief executive and co-founder Agnes Arnadottir, explaining the process of being inspired to build a new generation of boat and convincing backers, yards and suppliers to work on something so novel. “We now know every single part, every nut and bolt, on this ship”.

Arnadottir founded the company two years ago with Espen Larsen-Hakkebo, company chief financial officer. The duo was responsible for bringing in the NOK 46m ($5.2m) financing for a project which entailed enlisting a shipyard and suppliers to deliver a uniquely aesthetic design and ultra-clean propulsion system.

The aluminium hulled vessel with large windows and observation platforms can take up to 140 passengers on sustainable whale watching and sightseeing tours powered by a battery system supplied by Corvus Energy, a driveline by Servogear, and system integration by Brunvoll Mar-El. One of the benefits for the vessel design will be the ease with which its batteries can be recharged – the vessel will need only a 400V 124 amp industrial power outlet to recharge.

From the shipyard Maritime Partner, CEO Peder Myklebust described the project as “a series of innovation in both hull design and propulsion as well as its characteristic design” and that the great collaboration with Brim made it possible to solve challenges together.

Brim already has a second vessel nearing completion and set to enter service in Spitsbergen on the remote Northern island of Svalbard. This will be the first ultra-clean vessel specifically built to Polar regulations. The vessel will be operated in conjunction with the Norwegian cruise and ferry operator Hurtigruten, allowing passengers and guests from Hurtigruten to enter waters that may be off limits to other cruise goers.

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