The Swedish company has taken over the expedition ship and will use it for cruises in the Arctic and Antarctic.
The ice-strengthened 71.5 m-long and 12.8 m-wide Polar Pioneer was built in Turku in 1982 as the Soviet research vessel Akademik Shuleykin. In 2000, she was turned into a passenger ship, with room for 54 people. Most recently, Polar Pioneer has been operated as an expedition cruise ship by the Australian Aurora Expeditions.
The vessel, currently moored in Riga, will be handed over in March, upgraded, and taken to Sweden in autumn in order to winter in Uddevalla. Polar Pioneer's first cruise, departing from Svalbard, in the colours of Polar Alca Maritime is scheduled for the 2022 season.
A tourist JV will be set up by the Norwegian Wildphoto Travel and the Swedish Twin Tracks to market and sell the new undertaking. The two will also become co-owners of the shipping line.
"Polar Pioneer is in full working condition, though we want to upgrade the passenger standard before we set off," Staffan Strive, Managing Director and Principal Owner, Polar Alca Maritime, commented to Sjöfartstidningen.
He also said, "The hull is in very good state and we have also given the machinery a test drive."
Photo: Ronnie Robertson/Wikimedia Commons