17 June 2011

Nordnorge in Bergen, 25 May 2011


IMO 9107784
Built 1997, Kvaerner Kleven Ulsteinvik, Norway
Tonnage 11 386 GT
Length 123,30 m
Width 19,50 m
Draught 4,90 m
694 passengers
457 berths
45 cars
2 MaK diesels, combined 9 000 kW
2 propellers
2 bow thrusters
2 stern thrusters
Speed 18 knots

Nordnorge is one of the newest generation of coastal express ships belonging to Hurtigruten (formerly known in English as Norwegian Coastal Voyages). She was the sixth ship in Hurtigruten's ambitious fleet rebuilding programme that ran from 1993 to 2003 and produced nine similar but not identical ships, replacing most of the previous generations of Hurtigruten ships, though to date one ship built in the 1980s and two of the 1950s/1960s pocket liners remain in use.

Following the initial three new Hurtigruten ships delivered in 1993-1994, the company's owners OVDS (Ofotens og Vesteraalens Dampskibsselskap) and TFDS (Troms Fylkes Dampskibsselskap) ordered a second series of three slightly larger ships. Whereas for the first trio ships belonging to different companies had been externally identical except for funnel colours, for the new trio TFDS opted for a streamlined design for their Polarlys, while OVDS retained a more angular, functionalist design for their Nordkapp and Nordnorge.

Following delivery in March 1997 the Nordnorge embarked on an extensive cruise around northern Europe, before entering service on Hurtigruten's traditional Bergen-Kirkenes coastal service in late April. Cruising would subsequently form an important part of the Nordnorge's yearly pattern: she would spent most of the year in the coastal service, but for the midwinter slow season she sailed to the southern hemisphere, making cruises to the Antarctica out of Chile (occasionally she was joined in this service by her sister Nordkapp). During spring and autumn the Nordnorge also made occasional cruises around northern Europe. In November 2007 the Nordnorge gained a degree of fame during one of her Antarctica cruises when the crew and passengers of the sinking cruise ship Explorer were evacuated onboard the Nordnorge.

Sometime before this, in March 2006, OVDS and TFDS had merged to form Hurtigruten ASA. As a result of the amalgamization, the Nordnorge and her fleetmates lost their previous funnel colours. The Nordnorge's original OVDS colours with a red band flanked by two narrower white band on a buff background were now replaced by the new Hurtigruten colours seen below, a black funnel with the company's new red-white funnel symbol. In the interim she also briefly sailed with an all-black funnel without the symbol. Following the delivery of Hurtigruten's new purpose-built cruise ship Fram in 2007, the Nordnorge has seen a lot less cruising action, spending winters laid up or under charter instead.

In June 2011 (that is to say, right now) the Norwegian TV station NRK made a live broadcast of the Nordnorge's passage from Bergen to Kirkenes, billed as the longest TV broadcast ever. You can watch "Hurtigruten minutt for minutt" here.

The photographs below show the Nordnorge arriving in Bergen from a round trip to Kirkenes and back on 25 May 2011. The photos were taken from onboard the departing MSC Poesia and due to the distance they are not perhaps in the best of quality. Click on the individual images to see larger size.

The Hurtigruten-side text is a recent addition, probably from 2010.
Passing the beautiful fjord and grain silos of Norway. The current funnel colours aren't as attractive as the previous OVDS colours (or even the black-heavy TFDS colours) - espcially in pictures like these, where the dark funnel easily merges into the background.
She looks very workmanlike, doesn't she? It's interesting how the basic model of the 1993-2003 built ships is the same, yet there is quite a lot of variance from one design to another. Not that you could actually see it here, as the Nordnorge is thus far the only ship of the series I've photographed.

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