Hybrid arctic ecotour boat up for industry award

Brim Explorer arctic ecotour boat designed for passengers to explore Arctic Norway without disturbing nature, is the latest boat to be nominated for the Next Generation Ship Award at the industry’s Nor-Shipping Conference in Oslo in June.

The award is given to a new or retrofit project ‘demonstrating the greatest advances and innovation in design, assessed with respect to energy efficiency, innovation, suitability and flexibility, technology utilisation, safety and security and environmental sustainability’.

Most of the other contenders are container ships or cargo ships, but the Brim Explorer is what captures our imagination.

How could it not? It is offering six different cruises on the Norwegian coast:

  • Silent Whale Watching
  • Silent Trollfjord Cruise
Northern Lights Cuisine Cruise
  • Skrova Island Cruise
  • Tromsø Fjord & Wildlife Cruise
  • Henningsvær Cultural Tasting Cruise

All of this from a “comfortable, stable, silent and emission-free sailing with uninhibited views from multilevel indoor and outdoor decks, with live feeds from an underwater drone and hydrophone” as it says on the Brim website

Arctic ecotour boat founders aims for zero negative impact

A sketch of the design of a two story catamaran arctic ecotour boat
Brim was designed in concert with Norways’ multi-award winning Hareide Design studio

There are a number of new electric and hybrid cruise ships and ferries designed to conform to Norway’s laws restricting fossil fuel boats in above the Arctic circle, but Brim Explorer is a new take on it.

The boat and touring company were founded by two people with a love of the Arctic’s, and Norway’s, natural wonders. Co-founder and CEO Agnes Árnadóttir grew up working in her family business, the first whale watching company in Iceland. The other Co-founder (and CFO) is Espen Larsen-Hakkebo whose vision is to show that travel doesn’t have to have a negative impact on nature.

Their desire is to have others discover the world they love so much while ensuring it can all continue to be enjoyed for future generations.

As Agnes told Barents Observer “There are few things more mind-blowing than standing outside in the dark Arctic night and hear the sound of the whales while smelling their herring-breath”.

The idea of providing a silent clean ship to experience the rugged and awe-inspiring Arctic coast started in 2017 when the two quit their jobs, teamed up with designer Einar Hareide and Norwegian ship yard Maritime Partner to build Brim, which means ‘breaking wave’ in Norwegian.

10 hour cruise range at 10 knots

Hareide Design is one of Norway’s premier studios, their work having won dozens of awards and being internationally recognized by museums such as the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). They came up with an inspiring two story, 24 metre, 140 passenger catamaran with wraparound windows to give those passengers as rich an arctic experience as possible.

Maritime Partner constructed the boat using fifty percent recycled aluminum, which can be recycled and reused when the boat is at its end of life.

Norwegian propulsion experts Brunvoll Mar-El (who are also providing motors for the Yara Birkeland, the world’s first autonomous and zero-emission container vessel) has outfitted Brim with a plug-in hybrid system that is powered by an 800 kWh battery pack (about 10 Teslas).

The pack can be charged in most Norwegian ports from the country’s very green grid. About 95% of the country’s electricity comes from hydro power. When fully charged Brim can sail for up to 10 hours of sightseeing with a cruising speed of 10 knots. In case a charge is needed at sea, there is a backup biodiesel generator on board.

Brim is booking arctic ecotour cruises for August 2019

a white-tailed eagle flies over water
White-tailed eagle

Everything is designed to maximize the Arctic experience for humans while having the least possible impact on the arctic environment.

On whale watching safaris, the ship can get much closer to the animals without disturbing them. On the Trollfjord cruise there is  very high likelihood  of having white-tailed eagles flying close to the outdoor second deck with 1000 metre peaks surrounding everything. On the Henningsvær trip the onboard restaurant serves an Arctic Tapas tasting menu of seasonal local specialities.

And the use of hydrophones and underwater drones provides a whole new perspective. “We want to give our guests a deeper insight into the ocean by offering an experience that plays on different senses.” says Agnes.

The company has also pledged to give 1% of profits to ocean conservation efforts.

Brim is scheduled to make her maiden voyage in August of 2019. You can find out more about all of the cruises and book one of these adventures on »» their website

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