The Norwegian parliament has adopted a landmark resolution to halt all emissions from cruise ships and ferries in its Unesco world heritage fjords, including Nærøyfjord and Geirangerfjord, as soon as possible and no later than 2026.
The law “considering them to be so important that they belong to all humanity, and stating that they must be preserved for future generations”. It aims to make the picturesque but well-visited fjords the world’s first zero-emission maritime zones. More than 300.000 cruise passenger visited Geiranger alone last year with residents complaining about the resulting air pollution.
Marius Holm, head of the environmental lobby group Zero, said: “For the first time in the world there is a requirement for emission-free sailing in the fjords and their harbours. Norway has long been a world leader in emission-free ferries based on sound political decisions on zero-emission requirements. Now the country is taking a step further in the maritime green shift that has global repercussions. At the national level, this will mean a welcome development towards emission-free solutions on many tourist ships, a significant decrease in greenhouse gas emissions and a halt to harmful local air pollution.”
The operators of the first all-electric ferry in Norway, the Ampere, after operating the ship for over two years, say it cuts emissions by 95 per cent and costs by 80 per cent.
NCE Maritime CleanTech CEO Hege Økland compared the decision to the Norwegian parliament’s 2015 ruling that all ferries in new tenders must have low- or zero-emissions. The legislation sparked an “electric revolution” in the Norwegian fjords, with more than 60 electrical ferries in the process of being launched.
Økland added: “Norway has become a world-leading maritime supplier of low- and zero-emissions solutions. The decision on zero-emission fjords can secure our industry’s position in this area so that Norwegian business will be strengthened and we can provide green solutions also to the rest of the world.”
Fjord1, a major Norwegian transport provider which operates 75 ships, has already placed an order with the Havyard Group to build a fleet of battery-electric ferries.
NCE Maritime CleanTech said the decision meant all tourist ships operating along the coast had to plan for how to halt emissions. Existing ships had to be re-equipped for electric propulsion with battery packs or hydrogen tanks. In addition, ports will need to be equipped with recharging options.
Alesund. Picture credit: Pixabay