The Norwegian Parliament has adopted a resolution to halt emissions from cruise ships and ferries in the Norwegian world heritage fjords as soon as technically possible – and no later than 2026. This will make the fjords the world’s first zero-emission zone at sea.
“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,” says Marius Holm, head of the environmental foundation ZERO.
Maritime industrial cluster NCE Maritime CleanTech chief executive Hege Økland said the decision would be of great significance for the industry. She compared it to the Norwegian Parliament’s decision from 2015 saying that all ferries in new tenders must have low or zero emission technology. This has led to an “electric revolution” in the Norwegian fjords, as more than 60 electrical ferries will be seaborne within the next few years.
“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,” said Ms Økland.
Havila Holding, one of the operators to ply the coastal route between Bergen and Kirkenes from 2021, believes it is possible to have emissions-free ships and ferries in the Norwegian fjords within a few years. “Havila welcomes this decision, and not a moment too soon. We’ll be ready to sail emissions-free with our cruise ships in the fjords as early as 2021,” said Havila chief executive Per Sævik.
NCE Maritime CleanTech said the decision means in practice that all cruise and tourist ships currently sailing along the coast of Norway immediately have to plan for how to halt emissions. Existing ships must be equipped for electric propulsion with battery packs and, in the future, hydrogen. Several new ships already have, or are planning, such solutions. In addition, on shore power will be needed in ports to enable ships to recharge when docked.