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Midnatsol

Midnatsol is the last ship of a class of three that was built for the Hurtig Ruten companies TFDS and OVDS at the beginning of this new millennium. She was also be the last of the ships that recieved the traditional funnelcolours, this time it was the red-white-red stripes of TFDS. Just after her introduction, the companies were merged under the banner of Hurtig Ruten and the newer ship Fram recieved the new colouring of the combined company.

Like her sisters, Midnatsol (the fourth time the name was used in the companies long history), she has a lenght of 135,75 meters, she is 21,5 meters wide and her draft is 5,10 meters. She has space for 644 passengers in cabins, and around 350 on deck. This is of course when she sails the Coastal Voyage. On cruises, the number of passengers is significantly less. Also, there is a garage aboard for 45 cars, of course also only used on the Coastal Voyage. The ship measures 16.140 tons and can sail at around 15 knots, which is her normal cruising speed. Her topspeed is recorded to be 18 knots. Midnatsol has ten decks, of which six are available to her passengers. Her name translates as 'The Midnight Sun'. The ships interiours are also very colourfull and inspired by a sunny, warm climate. Throughout, a lot of Norwegian materials are used to give the ship a very modern decor, inspired by the surroundings she sails in. A very popular lounge is the forward panorama lounge, spread over two decks. This lounge gives a good view to the passengers over the ships bow and of course, to the great scenery she sails in.

The ship was built at the Bruces Shipyard at Landskrona in Sweden, and her keel had been laid at october the 17th, 2001. The ship is powered by two 9-cilinder diesel engines, designed by Wärtsilä and those drive two Aquamaster pods, giving her a good manouverability in the Norwegian fjords. She followed her sisters Finmarken and Trollfjord, that were launched from the same yard. She was launched at april 26th, 2002 and afterwards she sailed for the wharf of Fosen Mekaniske Versted at Rissa, Norway, where she was completed under yardnumber 73. She was named at march the 22nd of 2003. After that, she took up the traditional voyage along the Norwegian coast, her first true voyage starting at the 15th of april of 2003. She also undertakes cruises in the northern winter, that take her also to South America and the Antarctic.

In the stormy night of the 14th of december 2003, the ship almost hit a reef while sailing between Alesund and Maloy, after her main engine cooling system overheated and because of this, she lost all engine power. It proved that an air pipe that was connected to the seawater intake of the ship was filled with seashells, seaweeds and other debris. Her anchors had been set out to slow the ship that was drifting towards the reef, but somehow this attempt failed. as a precaution, the 102 passengers were directed to the lifeboats and an SOS was sent out. Luckily, just 150 meters before the ship was going to crash at the reef, the anchors finally slowed and stopped the ship, after which the crew got the engines running again too. Luckily, there was no damage and the ship went to the port of Floro. The cause was an overgrown inlet to the engines cooling systems.

From august 2004 well into the summer of 2005, Midnatsol became a TV star when the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation made recordings aboard the ship for the 'Hurtigruten 365'- series. In total, 20 episodes were filmed.

In march of 2006, TFDS and OVDS merged to become Hurtig Ruten, and both former names dissappeared. The ships names were unchanged, except for the new funnelcolouts of the white 'H' in a red sun and the Hurtigruten name that was printed on the ships sides. The picture of Midnatsol, shot in april 2006 at Rotterdam above shows her in her original livery, the changes were made later that year. From the 2016-2017 season onwards, Midnatsol will join her newer fleetmate Fram in Antarctic cruises, tripling the capacity in that region for Hurtig Ruten.

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