Astilleros y Servicios Navales S.A. (ASENAV) shipyard in Chile has contracted ABB for a power and propulsion system for Antarctica21’s newbuild boutique expedition ship Magellan Discoverer. It is the first hybrid-electric polar cruise ship featuring Azipod propulsion to be built in the Americas.

Accommodating up to 96 passengers and 67 crew members, the vessel will be operating in the Antarctic Peninsula, South Georgia and the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas). The vessel will be delivered in 2026.

ASENAV is the biggest private shipyard in Chile and Antarctica21 is a global leader in touristic operations focused on “fly & cruise” expeditions to Antarctica. Both companies are important players in an expedition segment which recognises technical innovation as key to balancing cost efficiency with environmental responsibility.

‘This ship is born out of our unwavering commitment to meeting the rising expectations of our guests,’ says Jaime Vásquez, president of Antarctica21. ‘Equipped with the latest technology, Magellan Discoverer strengthens our dedication to sustainability while offering seamless comfort for our travelers.’

‘Manufacturing the first hybrid-electric cruise ship in the Americas solidifies our position as a highly competitive shipyard on a global scale,’ adds Heinz Pearce, general manager of ASENAV.

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Azipod propulsion and hybrid power plant

ABB’s scope of supply comprises the Azipod propulsion system and a hybrid power plant featuring the Onboard DC Grid power distribution system, with battery bank from Corvus Energy. The ship’s energy storage system allows the engines to be switched off for silent operations in environmentally sensitive areas.

Moreover, the flexibility of the Onboard DC Grid allows integrating a wide range of energy sources, such as fuel cells, ensuring the vessel is ready to comply with stricter emission regulations in the future.

A leading propulsion solution for cruise ships and ice-going vessels for over three decades, Azipod is a gearless steerable propulsion system, where the electric drive motor is housed within a pod outside the ship hull. Azipod units can rotate 360 degrees, increasing maneuverability, safety and operating efficiency of the vessel, while cutting fuel consumption by up to twenty per cent compared to conventional shaftline systems.

Picture by Antarctica21.

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