“Taking sustainability seriously is a ‘do-or-die’ matter for our industry over the future,” said Daniel Skjeldam, CEO of Hurtigruten, speaking at a recent industry event.
The Hurtigruten boss said that cruise lines have responsibilities that go beyond just not polluting the ocean as the entire business must be carefully thought out.
One important subject, in his opinion, is the way the ships affect the destinations they visit.
“As visitors to these places, we become a part of the local community and what kind of impact do we have? Do we take value, or do we add value?”
The current answers aren’t ideal, he said, and improvements can be achieved.
“As an industry, we need to talk about solutions, we need to make the changes, and we need to lead the way in technological and regulatory solutions to fix this,” he continued.
He said that while other cruise lines are “just talking about it,” Hurtigruten is already acting on sustainability.
Initiatives include the world’s first hybrid cruise ships, with the company’s newbuilding series capable of running on battery power starting with the Roald Amundsen.
The operator will also spend $850 million on a fleetwide refurbishment program that will see existing ships re-engined to run on LNG and biogas.
“We’ve been operating in polar waterS for more than 125 years, we’ve seen the impact of climate changes right in front of our eyes. We’ve seen the effect of overtourism in the communities we sail to,” Skjeldam said, insisting that the cruise lines also need to take responsibility for the places they go to.
One way to give back is to source local products, Skjeldam insisted.
“Local farms, local tour operators and local employees are an integral part of our product and we bring that approach to our expedition cruises as well.”
The company runs its ships on marine gas oil, and is in favor of the HFO fuel ban in the Arctic..
The ban is necessary, according to the CEO, as scrubbers aren’t a real solution for pollution.
“It only moves the problem from the air into our oceans. It’s the emperor’s new clothing,” he said.
“We push very hard for more regulation instead of less regulation.”