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A walrus resting on an ice pack in Svalbard's waters. Pic credit: John Daniel Benton
A walrus resting on an ice pack in Svalbard's waters. Pic credit: John Daniel Benton

Press release -

The silent future of tourism: Hurtigruten Svalbard partners with Volvo Penta to test hybrid vessel

Hurtigruten Svalbard has teamed up with Volvo Penta to test a new hybrid vessel that will allow guests to experience the wonders of the Arctic archipelago without disturbing the habitat around them.

The near-silent, Marell M15 cruiser called ‘Kvitbjørn’ (polar bear in English) will allow for fully electric operation in the environmentally sensitive waters around Svalbard, which is hugely popular with nature-loving adventure travellers.

CEO of Hurtigruten Group Daniel Skjeldam said: “We are thrilled to be working with Volvo Penta which is taking sustainable engineering to a whole new level. And what a fitting place to test this hybrid vessel than the beautiful but fragile Svalbard, which is highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. As one of the biggest employers on the archipelago, our Hurtigruten Svalbard team continue to lead the charge in finding innovative ways and partnerships to enable our guests to get even closer to nature in a more sustainable way.”

Among Kvitbjørn’s features is a hydraulic clutch that ensures silent and smooth shifting at low engine speeds, resulting in added manoeuvrability and higher comfort at slower boat speeds – perfect for slow cruising when wildlife watching.

CEO of Hurtigruten Svalbard Per Brochmann added: “Our guests are conscious travellers who want to experience the wonders of Svalbard in its purest form so to be able to offer guests this unique service is hugely important for us as an attractive, sustainable tour operator and local employer. We look forward to testing the hybrid boat with Volvo Penta next year and hearing feedback from the guests and wider Svalbard community.”

Powered by Volvo Penta’s twin D4-320 DPI hybrid with its Aquamatic DPI, the Marell M15 boat has a top speed of 32 knots and a cruising speed of 25 knots. It is robust enough to operate in the demanding Arctic environment and to run in sub-zero temperatures, with an extensive range of 500 Nm.

“Our vision is to be the global leader in sustainable power solutions and this new vessel is a great example of how we can move towards that,” said Heléne Mellquist, President of Volvo Penta. “It’s also special for us to partner with a company like Hurtigruten Group, who share our values around environmental care as well as our Scandinavian love of the natural world. It’s clear that if we are going to truly limit the impacts of climate change, we need more collaborations like this. It’s exciting to see more sustainable solutions for the marine industry coming into use and we look forward to driving more of these in future.”

The companies will also test a new pay-by-the-hour business approach. It will be the first time Volvo Penta tests out the concept of “e-mobility as a service” while Hurtigruten Svalbard will trial paying by the kilowatt-hour for operation. The concept could revolutionize investing in marine e-mobility solutions – where upfront costs are often a barrier.

Hurtigruten Svalbard plans to test the Marell M15 day cruiser in May 2022.

For more information or interviews please contact Catriona Loughran, VP of Communications for Hurtigruten Group on +47 909 25528 or email:



About Hurtigruten Group

Hurtigruten Group is the world's leading adventure travel company, allowing guests to explore unique destinations in a sustainable and meaningful way.

With headquarters in Oslo, Norway and offices around the world, Hurtigruten Group has a proud expedition heritage and is committed to working with the best green technology to ensure our products are safe and respectful towards nature, wildlife and the communities we visit.

Hurtigruten Group has a comprehensive portfolio encompassing three business areas: Hurtigruten Expeditions, which was founded in 1896, is the world’s leading expedition cruise operator offering more than 250 destinations to more than 30 countries including Alaska, Antarctica, Arctic Canada and the Northwest Passage, the British Isles, the Caribbean, Galapagos Islands, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, South America, and West Africa.
Hurtigruten Norway, which operates Norwegian Coastal Express, and is considered ‘the world’s most beautiful voyage’ has been sailing along the Norwegian coastline since 1893. Hurtigruten Svalbard, one of the most exclusive tour operators in the industry, offers land-based adventures on the spectacular Arctic archipelago.


Press contacts

Catriona Loughran

Catriona Loughran

Press contact VP Group Communications Hurtigruten Group +47 909 25 528

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Hurtigruten Group - World leader in exploration travel

Building on 125 years of Norwegian pioneering heritage, Hurtigruten is today the world's largest expedition cruise company.

Hurtigruten’s rapidly growing fleet of custom-build expedition ships takes modern-day adventure travellers to the world’s most spectacular destinations on our Planet - from the High North to Antarctica in the south.

Being the world leader in exploration travel comes with a great responsibility. Hurtigruten is enhancing destinations and runs an responsible, sustainable global operation. Read more about Hurtigruten's sustainability efforts here.

Hurtigruten introduced the world’s first hybrid battery powered cruise ships, the MS Roald Amundsen this summer. In 2020 she is followed by sister ship MS Fridtjof Nansen.

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