Environmental regulations are tightening up everywhere, but nowhere faster or firmer than in Norway’s World Heritage fjords. In 2019, the Norwegian parliament adopted a resolution that the country’s UNESCO-protected fjords shall be free from cruise ship and ferry emissions as soon as technically possible, and no later than 2026.

This will make Norway’s fjords the world’s first zero-emission zone at sea. The aim is to ensure the protection, conservation, and transfer to future generations, of the culture and natural heritage in the unique fjord environment. Tourism is already well developed in these sensitive fjords, and a 40 per cent increase in tourist traffic has been projected by 2030.

Norway is also becoming an increasingly popular superyacht destination, and commercial yachts wanting to operate in the area will be affected by the resolution. Undoubtedly, private yacht owners will not want to be seen as being polluters of these UNESCO-protected fjords.

In fact, the impact of the resolution is already being seen in the superyacht industry. The 44m ketch Juliet, currently undertaking a major refit at Royal Huisman’s Huisfit, is undergoing a hybrid conversion for the sole purpose of being able to navigate in zero-emission zones, such as the Norwegian fjords.

Although the fjords will be the first emission-free zone at sea, there is no doubt that other regions will follow – something that all yacht owners, builders and operators should carefully consider. And these increasingly stricter regulations will hopefully lead to a greater demand for new green technologies.

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