Norwegian ferry company Havila Kystruten has challenged electric, hybrid and hydrogen-powered cars to be the most environmentally friendly.
Fears for safety
The Norwegian shipping company Havila Kystruten, with its headquarters near Olesund, serves the Northern and Norwegian Sea coast lines from Bergen to Kirkenes. Four sea ferries of this company sail in them. They visit 67 ports in the south, west and north of Norway.
This company is also known in Norway as a hotel service, tourism business, maritime industry group that manages such companies as Havila Shipping, Volstad Maritime, Havila Hotels, Fjord Tour and the aforementioned Havila Kystruten.
Havila Kystruten’s refusal to transport electric cars and other non-fossil fuel vehicles by ship was established in the contract with the Norwegian Ministry of Transport.
Havila Kystruten’s communications manager, Lasse A. Vangtein, issued a statement to the Norwegian media, where it is stated that the decision not to accept alternative fuel cars on the ferries was made after a detailed risk analysis. This is reported in the Norwegian online media publication Nrk.no.
If an electric car catches fire, all people would have to be evacuated immediately, because ships do not yet have the appropriate technology to extinguish fires in alternative fuel cars.
The main conclusion is that an electric, hybrid and hydrogen car fire on a sea ferry would have more serious consequences than a conventional fossil fuel car fire.
“Electric cars and other alternative fuel cars emit significantly more heat when burning, there is a risk of explosion, and toxic gases are released. This poses a greater threat to both the ferry’s passengers and crew, as well as the ship itself. If an electric car catches fire, all people would have to be evacuated immediately, because ships do not yet have the appropriate technology to extinguish fires in alternative fuel cars,” explained LA Vangtein.
Conclusion: electric cars burn more intensively, emit more heat, and are more difficult to extinguish than cars burning with conventional fuel. Ctpost.com photo.
Electric cars were considered important
In Norway, which is one of the countries that use electric cars and other alternative fuel cars the most, this rejection of Havila Kystruten caused a shock.
There is also another sea ferry company, Hurtigruten, on the mentioned lines from Bergen to Kirkenes. After Havila Kystruten announced that they would no longer accept electric cars and other alternative fuel cars, Hurtigruten representatives said that they will carry all types of cars on their ferries.
The Hurtigruten shipping company has long been a monopolist on Norwegian west coast lines. in 2018 The Norwegian Ministry of Transport has decided that it is not appropriate to have monopoly shipping on the lines from Bergen to Kirkenes. This is how Havila Kystruten, a marine ferry company, entered the route with four ships after winning an additional tender.
From 2018 to 2022 she floated all kinds of cars, including alternative fuel ones. Already in 2020 there was a discussion in the company about whether it is appropriate to transport electric cars, hybrids and hydrogen-powered cars.
Then Arild Myrvoll, the head of the shipping company Havila Kystruten, “came down” by saying that electric cars are important both for residents of the Norwegian coast and for tourists visiting the country.
Too little attention to safety
Why in 2023 Has Havila Kystruten made a categorical decision not to accept alternative fuel cars on ferries? Especially since official statistics state that electric cars, hybrids or hydrogen-powered cars burn 4-5 times less often than conventional fuel cars.
The bottom line is that sea ferries are not designed for extinguishing alternative fuel cars. When a fire occurs in the battery pack of an electric car, it is particularly difficult to put it out.
Why, when the shipping company Havila Kystruten refused to accept electric cars due to the safety of passengers and crew, its competitor Hurtigruten made compromises between the safety of alternative fuel cars and ships.
Hurtigruten PR representative Martin Henriksen said that their company has also assessed the risks of accepting electric cars and other alternative fuel cars on ferries. The conclusion of their assessment was that electric cars and other alternative fuel cars were more lenient than their competitors.
M. Henriksen explained that their company had purchased special extinguishing systems for alternative fuel cars, fire blankets, and installed additional ventilation holes in the ships.
“In any case, if a car – an electric car or a conventional fossil fuel car – catches fire on board, the fire will be serious,” mused M. Henriksen.