Hurtigruten’s classic MS Lofoten to become training ship
After nearly six decades servicing the Norwegian coast, MS Lofoten is slated to leave the Hurtigruten fleet from 2021 to become a training ship, educating future generations of seafarers.
Hurtigruten, the world leader in exploration travel, has signed a letter of intent with the Norway-based educational foundation Maritim videregående skole Sørlandet (Sørlandet’s Maritime High School) for the sale of MS Lofoten.
The 151-bed ship is due to welcome its first students in August 2021.
“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,” Hurtigruten Group CEO Daniel Skjeldam said.
The school has trained young mariners since 1927. MS Lofoten will be their fifth training ship, where students live, work and practice their skills on board.
“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,” said Tor Helge Egeland, the school’s Director.
With over 125 years of experience from year-round operations in some of the most challenging seas on the planet, Hurtigruten has a long legacy of supporting training and education of seafarers. Several former Hurtigruten ships serve or has served as maritime training ships.
As part of the sales agreement, Hurtigruten and the school have agreed to arrange for cadets to be educated and trained through apprenticeship programs also on other, operating Hurtigruten ships.
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 along the Norwegian coast.
Through the sales agreement, Hurtigruten has reserved the rights to charter MS Lofoten from the foundation during periods outside the school year.
Hurtigruten is looking into launching one or more MS Lofoten farewell voyages on the Norwegian coast in spring 2021, if the Covid-19 situation allows for it.
“MS Lofoten is a special ship with a very rich history and a unique atmosphere. She is very special to many of us in Hurtigruten, to our guests and her crew. She has served us extremely well, and I am delighted to see her start her new life as a training ship,” Mr Skjeldam said.