Croatia-based shipyard Brodosplit has started the construction of a new ship for Quark Expeditions in a steel-cutting ceremony held at the shipyard.

The vessel will be designed with long-range operational capability and will be equipped with advanced safety systems.

To be developed for sailing in the polar waters, the 13,500t ship is scheduled to start operations in 2020.

The 128m-long and 21.5m-wide vessel is expected to carry up to 200 passengers.

The ship will include an interior Zodiac hangar and four embarkation points, as well as dual helicopters with simultaneously operable helidecks for safe and efficient movement on and off the vessel.

With a 70-day operational range, the vessel is expected to help Quark Expeditions provide an enhanced polar adventure experience to its guests.

The ship will feature 11 different cabin styles, spa and fitness facilities, as well as indoor and outdoor dining options.

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It will also reduce the environmental footprint with the help of water treatment, waste handling and heat recovery systems that recycle surplus energy back into the ship.

“It is our combination of institutional knowledge and technological innovation that makes a design like this possible.”

Brodosplit will use fully recyclable materials to build the vessel, which will be designed to employ the dynamic positioning technology to eliminate the need to anchor and prevent damage to sensitive seabed ecosystems.

Quark Expeditions president Andrew White said: “We designed this ship to keep adding to those firsts in what we consider the most breathtaking places on our planet.

“It is our combination of institutional knowledge and technological innovation that makes a design like this possible. The polar regions are both spectacular and unforgiving.

“Our new ship will take people there safely and comfortably while giving them experiences to cherish forever and allowing them to appreciate the purity and majesty of nature without disturbing it.”