An electric catamaran custom-built for Polar water exploration is to be introduced by Hurtigruten.

The 24-metre vessel capable of carrying 140 passengers will operate daily ocean excursions from its homeport Longyearbyen on the Arctic island of Svalbard from next spring.

Featuring large battery packs, the hybrid catamaran, operating under the Hurtigruten Svalbard brand, is expected to be one of the world’s most flexible electric ships.

It can be charged at most ports and operate on batteries for ten hours with a cruising speed of ten knots.

A sister vessel featuring large windows is under construction in Norway ahead of entering service in August offering Hurtigruten excursions along the Norwegian coast.

The explorer catamarans will feature hydrophones and underwater drones which are being  introduced to several of Hurtigruten’s expedition cruise ships.

The line has partnered with Norwegian start-up Brim Explorer to introduce the emission-free catamarans.

Hurtigruten CEO Daniel Skjeldam said: “Brim and Hurtigruten found each other through our common passion for the oceans.

“Their vision to change the way people experience the Arctic is a perfect match to our bold sustainability ambitions. We firmly believe the future of travel is emission-free.

“We demand that partners adapt the same, strict standards on sustainability as we follow. As Hurtigruten, Brim is challenging the industry to move in a greener direction.

“Together we can offer an experience that is truly unique and sustainable – both for our guests and the communities and areas we visit.”

Brim Explorer co-founder and CEO Agnes Arnadottir added: “A green footprint is the future of the travel industry – in the Polar regions and elsewhere.

“With a great idea and dedicated partners like Hurtigruten, we have set out to build a ship unlike any the world has seen.

“By combining wave-breaking and green technology, clean Nordic design and focus on sustainable travel, we have created the first sightseeing vessel in the world able to operate a full day on electric power, and we look forward to using our knowledge to move the travel industry in a greener direction together with Hurtigruten.”