There will be retirement of old vessels and consolidation within the expedition cruise sector, Hurtigruten chief executive Daniel Skjeldam told delegates at Seatrade Cruise Global. He also urged the shipping industry to sign a heavy fuel oil ban for the Arctic.
While Antarctica is in “good shape”, he said there needs to be more regulations in the Arctic. He told delegates at the polar expedition cruise conference session “We have signed a campaign to ban heavy fuel in the Arctic and we encourage everyone to sign this.”
“I do not think that it is ok to bring in 5,000-bed cruise ships loaded with fuel oil, I think we need more regulations there.”
He pointed out how it was a “big success” to get the Norwegian Shipowners’ Association to sign the campaign to ban heavy fuel oil in the Arctic.
Another concern Mr Skjeldam highlighted is that any company can build a ship and start operating in the polar regions without requirements for extra training.
He believes that a captain from a river boat should not be taken from this to the Arctic as it is a “completely different skill set… the weather can change very quickly… ice conditions change in minutes.”
He said it was a “concern” that operators who have not been to these areas before do not always carry out the necessary preparation.
Looking ahead, Mr Skjeldam said he thought there would be a “lot of retirement of old capacity”. He commented “Who wants to go on an old Russian ice-breaker for a higher price than a very modern comfortable ship with significant stabilisers?”
He added that he believed that there would be consolidation “There are very small players today who operate one ship – I don’t think that works today as the cost of systems and maintaining staff gets too high.
“[I think we will see] a lot of tonnage leave areas fast, the polar code is part of it and natural demand will make sure of it. We will see a few larger entities lead much more than historically, when [it was a] very scattered segment.”