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Dead Fish As Cruise Ship Fuel? It’s Not Crazy If It Works

Dead Fish As Cruise Ship Fuel? It’s Not Crazy If It Works
Scott Dylan

A Norwegian cruise line called Hurtigruten has a very unconventional idea for powering its ships. Hurtigruten has announced that it’s moving forward with plans to power some of its ships with dead fish. Don’t picture crew members tossing fish heads into a moving engine just yet. The details behind Hurtigruten’s plan are actually quite sophisticated. The cruise operator will be using a substance called liquefied biogas (LBG). LBG is a renewable, fossil-free fuel that is produced using dead fish and other types of organic waste.

Hurtigruten’s plan to use dead fish to power its ships isn’t that far out there once you consider that LBG is already used as a fuel source in small parts on several transport vehicles. Even some bus operators around the world already use it. Hurtigruten’s status as a Norwegian cruise line makes it the perfect candidate to try to use LBG as a fuel on a wide-scale basis. Norway produces a large volume of organic waste due to its many fisheries and forested areas.

What will Hurtigruten’s fleet look like once it adopts this more environmentally friendly fuel source? The cruise line is planning to run at least six of its cruise vessels using a combination of biogas, large battery packs and liquefied natural gas by some point in 2021. Hurtigruten’s current fleet consists of 17 ships.

Hurtigruten is no doubt announcing its intention to use dead fish for fueling its ships as a way to set itself apart from competitors. It makes sense that Hurtigruten would want to set itself apart as the environmentally friendly cruise line due to the fact that it mainly brings travelers to unspoiled locations in the Arctic and Antarctica. Who would want to feel like they are contributing to polluting the planet after visiting spots that delicate and beautiful? Hurtigruten is pointing out that its competitors run their fleets using cheap, pollution-heavy fuel oil. Travelers who like to keep things green may be attracted to the idea of cruising using a low-impact method. Nobody can fault Hurtigruten for trying to create less pollution. In fact, a successful launch of fish-fueled cruise ships could cause the entire industry to reevaluate its mark on the planet. An even bigger benefit could be found if vessels used in the shipping industry were eventually able to convert to organic waste as a fuel source.

Hurtigruten is already setting trends even before it begins running part of its fleet on dead fish. The cruise line recently became the first in the industry to ban single-use plastics on its vessels completely. This is a trend that many hotel chains and airlines are already jumping on as we head into 2019.

View Comments (1)

1 Comment

  1. sdsearch

    December 13, 2018 at 5:09 pm

    The picture is misleading. Hurtigruten does not run conventional giant white cruise ships, as the picture shows. Go to to see what their ships actually look like. They’re designed for specialized near-polar cruising specifically, not typical mainstream cruising.

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