Okay we admit it, when we started this company in 1995, we were a bit “green” ourselves. At that time although we were aware of the positive aspects of running our cruises – buying local produce, supporting fragile communities, informing our guests about wildlife – we didn’t fully appreciate the potential impact we could be having upon the environment from which we earned our living. In addition, external factors, such as lots of other operators being in the same area, just weren’t an issue at that time.
Since then our own awareness has increased and we have worked hard, and continue to work hard, to practice responsible tourism. We were particularly pleased that our efforts, and those of our hardworking crews, were recognised by the “Green Highlands” Tourism Award given to a “business which can demonstrate a commitment to Scotland’s natural heritage,” in November 2005.
There’s no denying that cruise vessels can be gas guzzlers. However, we have made many changes to Hjalmar Bjorge over the years, we fitted new specially designed five-bladed propellers which decreased our fuel consumption by 20% with the additional bonus of making less noise in the water that might disturb wildlife. Modern new generators have been installed and we have fitted a host of other measures to reduce our carbon footprint. Unusually we are now able to run a silent ship with generators switched off overnight. We have a desalination plant (water-maker) on-board and have implemented many other measures, such as recycling on-board refuse, to reduce our environmental impact as much as possible.
Our biggest, and newest investment in 2016 has been the purchase and installation of brand new Baudouin Main Engines, these state of the art marine engines will make Hjalmar Bjorge a class leader, meeting the latest IMO Pollution and Marpol standards.
We have long since followed a Code of Conduct with respect to our interaction with wildlife. Many exist; click here to read ours.
We appreciate that green tourism, sustainable tourism, responsible tourism and ecotourism are band-wagons upon which everyone is trying to hitch a lift these days. We’re not perfect but we do try and work to the principles of eco-tourism to the best of our abilities.
DID YOU KNOW?
Atlantic puffins have penguin-like colouring but they sport a colourful beak that has led some to dub them the "sea parrot". The beak fades to a drab grey during the winter and blooms with colour again in the spring.