Fjord Line's two new international cruise ferries will be powered solely by liquefied natural gas (LNG) instead of heavy fuel oil. According to the company, when the Stavangerfjord is put into operation in 2013, it will be the first and largest cruise ferry in the world to sail with a "single LNG engine, using the cleanest fuel available.”

"In this way Fjord Line will meet the new, stricter standards for sulfur content in fuels long before the deadline in 2015," said CEO Ingvald Fardal.

Fjord Line has two new cruise ferries under construction at Bergen Group Fosen. When both are in service, they will offer daily year-round departures between Bergen, Stavanger and Hirtshals, and between Hirtshals and Langesund. Now these can claim to also be the "greenest" sea routes between Norway and the EU. While other shipping companies base their natural gas operations on "dual fuel engines," Fjord Line is going one step further by using a "single LNG engine" to reduce emissions and protect the environment. Both the new ships are designed and built to be powered by natural gas.

"Installation of the motors and other technical equipment needed to power the ships with natural gas will extend the construction period. However, going with natural gas from day one will mean we can avoid taking the ships out of operation for three months when the new emission standards come in force in 2015. We will take delivery of the first ship, the Stavangerfjord, from the shipyard in April of next year and welcome passengers to the maiden voyage from Bergen in May. The other ship will be ready to sail a few months later. We will then achieve the regularity we have been working toward without a long service interruption in 2014," said Fardal.

He noted that Fjord Line's new ships will travel in areas with many shoals. By using only LNG as fuel, the environmental improvement will be significant, both along the coasts and in the harbors where the cruise ferries will operate.

Fjord Line has chosen Rolls-Royce as the supplier of the LNG engines.

Fardal pointed out that emissions of sulfur from shipping in Northern Europe starting in 2015 cannot grow by more than 0.1 percent. He said that LNG contains no sulfur or heavy metals. It reduces CO2 emissions by 20-30 percent and emissions of NOx by around 90 percent compared to heavy fuel oil. After 2015 the only alternatives to natural gas will be diesel, or investing in expensive scrubbing technology that removes the emissions from the combustion of heavy fuel oil. LNG is also expected to be the most cost-effective fuel in the future and delivers a much bigger environmental benefit than all the other alternatives.

Fjord Line operates the passenger ferry Bergensfjord, which sails between Bergen, Stavanger and Hirtshals and the high speed catamaran Fjord Cat on an express line between Kristiansand and Hirtshals during an extended summer season. In addition to passenger traffic, Fjord Line carries all types of commercial vehicles and goods.

Fjord Line was established in 1993 and has 245 employees, of which 85 work on land in Bergen, Stavanger, Egersund, Kristiansand and Hirtshals and 160 work at sea year-round. The workforce increases between April and September by about 100 employees. Ingvald Fardal has been CEO of Fjord Line since 2007.