VARD, a Norwegian shipbuilder, has secured a contract for the design and construction of an electric hybrid polar expedition cruise vessel for French cruise company PONANT. The contract value is approximately NOK 2.7 billion ($323 million).
The unique and state-of-the-art luxury icebreaker with LNG propulsion was developed by PONANT, Stirling Design International, Aker Arctic and VARD. The vessel is specially designed to take passengers to polar destinations such as the true geographic North Pole (90 degrees North Latitude), the Weddell Sea, the Ross Sea and Peter I Island. It is the first electric hybrid cruise icebreaker with dual fuel propulsion, featuring high-capacity batteries and LNG storage on board. It will also be equipped with two helicopters in in-house hangars.
The icebreaker will be approximately 30,000 gross tons, about 150 meters long, 28 meters wide, and will have a cruise speed of 15 knots in open water.
Roy Reite, CEO and Executive Director of VARD, commented, “This is a really exciting project for us, and we look forward to building the Ponant icebreaker for polar expedition voyages. VARD has a deep experience in icebreaking technology; over generations we have built several highly advanced vessels developed for operations in polar areas. It is a pleasure to continue the excellent cooperation we have with PONANT, Stirling Design International and Aker Arctic.”
The hull will be built at Vard Tulcea in Romania. Delivery is scheduled from Vard Søviknes in Norway, in 2Q 2021.
PONANT, a subsidiary of ARTEMIS Group is headquartered in Marseille, France.