Thursday, April 23, 2015

North Sailing Husavik Offers World's First Zero-Carbon Whale Watching Cruise

In an unassuming fishing village on the edge of the Arctic Circle in North Iceland, a small whale watching operator is braving the waves of innovation to improve responsible eco-tourism in Iceland and around the world. In 2015, North Sailing Tours endeavors to become the world's first whale watching company to offer zero carbon emission ocean sails with the introduction of Hybrid-Electric Technology for Marine Vessels.

North Sailing Husavik, an eco-friendly wildlife tour pioneer from North Iceland, celebrates Earth Day by announcing the world's first whale watching cruise to run entirely on renewable energy instead of fossil fuel.  On May 23, 2015 from colorful Husavik harbor, North Sailing will launch the maiden zero-carbon voyage of Opal, a wooden schooner ship refitted with a unique Regenerative Plug-in Hybrid Propulsion system (RPHP). The new technology is part of a cooperative initiative to improve the environmental footprint of boat operations as well as the passenger experience and impact on marine life.
"There is no better way to celebrate Earth Day than by introducing this technological innovation which has the potential to change the face of eco-tourism as world knows it," says Birna Bjornsdottir, Head of Sales and Communications for North Sailing Husavik. "By operating our whale watching excursions on carbon-free ships we show it's possible to visit amazing places like Iceland in remote nature and preserve it for future generations."
The Regenerative Plug-in Hybrid Propulsion (RPHP) concept and application was developed using knowledge based on the electric automobile industry. By introducing RPHP to whale watching, North Sailing adds a new dimension to the way guests experience wildlife. The slow-going, electric-driven propeller eliminates engine noise and allows passengers to more peacefully experience whales in their natural habitat while causing minimal disturbance to marine wildlife. The project scope entails testing and optimization of the new technology based on vessel operation. The remaining ships in the North Sailing fleet will be converted into carbon-free, ship-shape vessels by 2020.

The May 23rd launch will take place in the unassuming fishing village of Husavik located less than 40 miles from the Arctic Circle. The ceremony will be officiated and attended by Iceland's Prime Minister, key industry stakeholders, and the local Husavik community.  Members of the media are encouraged to attend.
North Sailing offers whale watching and boutique expedition cruises in North Iceland and Greenland aboard restored wooden schooner ships which are Iceland's only traditional gaff rigged sailing ships and play an important role in preserving knowledge of maintaining a traditional sailing vessel. As industry pioneers, North Sailing have put Husavik (pop. 2300) on the world map as The Whale Watching Capital of Northern Europe, providing eco-friendly wildlife adventures to nearly 50,000 visitors per year.

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