Norwegian Cruise Ship Company Says Electricity and Water Don’t Mix

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy

norwegian cruise ship company says electricity and water dont mix

Passengers seeking space for their electric vehicles on vessels operated by Havila Voyages out of Norway are about to find themselves left ashore. The company is taking the advice of a risk analysis firm and refusing to board any electric, hybrid, or hydrogen vehicles on its ships.

To be clear – in spite of what is being suggested by some other outlets – Havila is primarily a cruise ship company, not a huge shipping corporation that floats jumbo vessels like the ill-fated Felicity Ace. There is inherently little space for vehicles, regardless of propulsion method, and they are treated more as cargo than they would be on a traditional roll-on/roll-off ferry. Havila describes these ships as providing ‘coastal voyages’, some of which are up to 12 days in length.

Still, anyone who grew up in a rural seaside town (*raises hand*) knows there is an unwritten expectation that any ship the size of these will reserve at least part of its cargo hold for shipping life’s necessities to far-flung frozen towns – even if official agreements with the Ministry of Transport do not decree this requirement. But many do, being good stewards of the community and all that tripe. Sometimes the cargo includes vehicles, a part of the balance sheet which has apparently frightened the tar out of risk assessment managers and caused the banning of EVs and their ilk for fear of fires that would be difficult to extinguish. 

These are valid concerns, to be sure, especially given the suspected reason for the loss of the Felicity Ace mentioned earlier. Even internal combustion cars don’t rank too high on Havila’s top-40 as cargo, with the company reducing to just two the number of ports at which it will offload vehicles, citing tidal considerations and the like.

There is an uncomfortable realization that Havila’s own ships deploy enormous battery packs in their daily plying of the seas, but company spox say those elements of vessel propulsion are safely encased in separate rooms which have special fire suppressors which may not be available elsewhere on the boat.

Remember these facts when, inevitably, your Uncle Walt shares a fake news story on Facebook with a breathless headline shouting ‘SHIPPING COMPANIES WON’T BRING ELECTRIC CARS HERE ANYMORE’ or ‘YOU CAN’T PUT AN EV ON A FERRY NOW’. Speaking quickly to the latter, a German-based company has installed EV chargers on several of its vessels serving a number of routes.

[Images: Havila]

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  • Master Baiter Master Baiter on Jan 24, 2023

    I wonder if readers here know how EVs deal with regulations around battery packs spontaneously catching fire: The pack must contain the fire for 60 seconds; the user is warned to get the H out of the vehicle. After 60 seconds, all bets are off, and the battery is allowed to go full China Syndrome. Don't ask me how this solves anything if the car is parked in your garage, and it's the middle of the night...

    And before you tell me ICE cars catch fire too, that typically happens on the open road in old and poorly maintained vehicles. A relatively new ICE car isn't going to cook off while sitting in your garage.

  • Lou_BC Lou_BC on Jan 24, 2023

    I did some digging. This applies to 2 ships owned by one repeat one cruise line. The ships don't have sufficient fire suppression equipment to handle electrical fires.

    Banning all EV's from ferries would be bad business considering the number of EV's in Norway.

    This site gets more clicks by flinging red meat on the gas stove than doing actual journalism.

  • MrIcky I remember driving one too, as a rental. My thoughts were 'it's fine'-the engine was good (pretty sure it was the v6). Then I read everyone was saying how bad they were and I couldn't quite figure out what the fuss was about because it was fine. I drove a Ford Fusion of roughly the same era and I thought the 200 was nicer to drive. The why wouldn't you buy a Camry/Accord question seems to be a question of actual sale price.
  • Arthur Dailey Compare that interior, that engine, and the fact that M-B sold cars with manual transmissions to the Mark V's of the same era.You can see why for a great many North American cars, during that era/those years, the Mark epitomized style and luxury rather than the M-B.Yes the M-B would last longer, but back in the day when a luxury car buyer would 'flip' their vehicles every couple of years that didn't matter.And the M-B was better engineered, but back then chrome, size, engine displacement, opera windows, power everything, etc meant more to the average 'luxury' car buyer than engineering. That is probably true of today's average vehicle purchaser.
  • Tassos In the late 70s-early 80s, an UNBELIEVABLE 80% of all Mercedes models sold were DIESELS. WOuld you believe it? That was the time of the second oil crisis that for moment resulted in $40 Jimmy Carter Dollars per barrel, up almost 40 TIMES from the about $1 per barrel before the 1st crisis in 1974
  • Tassos In 1878 my professor at MIT took a European sabbatical, and also took delivery of this exact model, for which he paid a modest $8,000 Jimmy Carter Dollars. He immediately regretted not paying a little more, and buying the 300 D. Both were woefully underpowered, but of course very well made inside and under the hood and everywhere else, as most Mercs are to this date.However, the E320 Blutec, of which I bought a 2016 for $10,500 and a 2017 for $11,000 DOnald J Trump dollars, and cost a base $51k or so when new, are far, far, far superior to this piece of junk in every imagineble way, than you sentimental oldtimer admirers were willing to admit.
  • Dukeisduke Thanks for posting this, Cary. Several years ago, we had a pretty in-depth presentation on oil, and viscosity versus thickness, temps, etc., at our local Corvair club meeting. The conclusions from the presentation (given by one of our members) pretty well matched your findings.