Historic Hurtigruten ship Lofoten is to leave the fleet after almost 60 years sailing the Norwegian coast to become a training vessel.

The classic ship will be used to educats future generations of seafarers from August 2021.

Hurtigruten has signed a letter of intent with the Norwegian educational foundation Sorlandet’s Maritime High School for the sale of 151-passenger Lofoten for an undisclosed sum.

The school has trained young mariners since 1927. Lofoten will be its fifth training ship, where students live, work and practice their skills on board.

Apart from occasional expedition cruises to destinations such as Svalbard and the British Isles, the 1964-build MS Lofoten – affectionally known as ‘The Queen of the Coast – has served Hurtigruten’s Bergen – Kirkenes – Bergen scheduled service.

Hurtigruten Group chief executive Daniel Skjeldam said: “This opens a new chapter in MS Lofoten’s rich and proud history.

“She has been a part of everyday life along the Norwegian coast for generations. Now, she will train the next generation of seafarers,

School director Tor Helge Egeland added: “There is a growing demand for skilled seafarers, especially those with a background from training ships.

“The acquisition of MS Lofoten is an important step forward for us. She is a true gem that deserves to be looked well after.”

Hurtigruten and the school have agreed to arrange for cadets to be educated and trained through apprenticeship programs also on other ships in the company’s fleet.