Trond Gansmoe Johnsen / Hurtigruten
The Maritime Executive
With the never-ending cruise shutdown set to extend into 2021, multiple lines have been scrapping older tonnage in a bid to bring down their overhead. Hurtigruten’s classic cruise ship Lofoten will have a much more dignified departure: she will be transferred to a maritime academy for service as a training ship.
After nearly six decades cruising the Norwegian coast, the Lofoten will leave the Hurtigruten fleet. Starting in 2021, the vessel will welcome cadets instead of passengers: Hurtigruten has signed a letter of intent with the Norwegian educational foundation Maritim videregående skole Sørlandet (Sørlandet’s Maritime High School) for the sale of MS Lofoten.
Sørlandet’s Maritime High School has trained young mariners since 1927, and MS Lofoten will be their fifth training ship. The 150-bed vessel is due to welcome her first students in August 2021.
“This opens a new chapter in MS Lofoten’s rich and proud history. She has been a part of everyday life along the Norwegian coast for generations. Now, she will train the next generation of seafarers,” Hurtigruten Group CEO Daniel Skjeldam said. “She is very special to many of us in Hurtigruten, to our guests and her crew. She has served us extremely well, and I am delighted to see her start her new life as a training ship.”
“There is a growing demand for skilled seafarers, especially those with a background from training ships. The acquisition of MS Lofoten is an important step forward for us. She is a true gem that deserves to be looked well after,” said Tor Helge Egeland, the school’s director.
Aside from expedition cruises to Svalbard, the British Isles and other regional destinations, the 1964-build Lofoten has primarily been deployed on Hurtigruten’s Bergen – Kirkenes – Bergen scheduled service, which traverses the full length of Norway’s western and northern coastlines. She has traversed a cumulative distance of about five million miles over the past 56 years, and her original main engine has accumulated about 330,000 running hours – more than any other marine diesel in the world.
If the COVID-19 pandemic allows, Hurtigruten aims to schedule a farewell voyage for Lofoten along the Norwegian coast in the spring of 2021.