The Aurora Botnia paves the way for environmentally friendly cruise ships
Typical passenger ferries and cruise ships have a huge environmental impact, both locally and globally. But it’s not all gloom and loom, the most environmentally-friendly passenger ferry in the world is already cruising between Finland and Sweden.
1 Oct 2021

Just before the pandemic took its toll on the global tourism sector, cruise ships and water travel was one of the fastest-growing industries. From 2012 to 2018, the number of active cruise ships saw an international increase of 46 per cent, according to the Marine Pollution Bulletin.

The review, which has taken more than 200 scientific studies into account, highlights the environmental and human impacts of the cruise industry. The Independent writes that cruise ships don’t only cause a risk to local and global marine life because of waste and toxins, one passenger on a seven-day cruise in Antarctica uses up as much CO2 as an average European does in an entire year. To add to that, one overnight stay on the average cruise vessel requires the same amount of energy as 12 nights in a hotel on land.

Luckily, Nordic engineering and innovation might help to halt the unsustainable direction in which the cruise industry is going. Since August this year, Wasaline’s Aurora Botnia offers environmentally friendly day tours between Vaasa in Finland and Umeå in Sweden — also known as the world’s most northernmost all-year passenger route.

The unique 150-meter long ferry, with room for 800 passengers and 1,500 lane metres for cargo and cars, will run on a mix of LNG (liquefied natural gas), batteries and liquefied biogas, which in plain English means that the ferry saves 50% of CO2, writes Riviera.

The natural coloured interior of the ferry is made by Kudos Design, and the carpets are made out of reused fishnets.

— Biogas is equal to almost zero emissions. The ferry will initially be refuelled in port by truck. I hope the trucks will run on biogas in the future, and more trucks are being powered by LNG. It is very important to look at the whole supply chain, says Wasaline chief executive Peter Ståhlberg to Riviera, and adds:

— The younger generation want to know their travel footprint. We must do our part and show we are reducing our footprint as much as possible.