Vard to Build First Hybrid Cruise Icebreaker for Ponant

Vard Holdings Limited has secured a contract for the design and construction of the first electric hybrid cruise icebreaker with LNG propulsion for French cruise company Ponant.

The contract for the luxury polar expedition cruise vessel has a value of around NOK 2.7 billion (USD 323 million). The vessel with LNG propulsion is developed by Ponant, Stirling Design International, Aker Arctic and Vard.

It is specially designed to take passengers to polar destinations such as the true geographic North Pole, the Weddell Sea, the Ross Sea and Peter I Island. The Polar Class 2 icebreaker are fulfilling the highest standards for environmentally friendly and safe operations, Vard informed.

It is the very 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 Ponant 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. The vessel can accommodate 270 passengers in 135 staterooms, in addition to a crew of 180 persons.

“This is a really exciting project for us, and we look forward to building the Ponant icebreaker for polar expedition voyages,” Roy Reite, CEO and Executive Director of VARD, said.

The hull will be built at Vard Tulcea in Romania. Delivery is scheduled from Vard Søviknes in Norway, in the second quarter of 2021.

In addition to the Ponant icebreaker, VARD currently has four luxury expedition cruise vessels under construction for Ponant. The first vessel in the series will be delivered in the second quarter of 2018, followed by the delivery of the next three vessels in the period from autumn 2018 to summer 2019.

Image Courtesy: Stirling Design International

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