The world's first zero-emission "unmanned" container ship officially named


The world's first zero-emission "unmanned" container ship jointly built by European shipping companies will be officially put into operation. This also means that the shipping industry is about to enter the era of "unmanned ships".

Recently, the "Yara Birkeland" zero-emission fully automatic container ship held a grand naming ceremony in Norway. The Norwegian Crown Prince Haakon Magnus personally attended the naming ceremony of the new ship.

The 80-meter battery-powered container ship, which completed its maiden voyage in November 2021, will be operational this year for use along the fjord from owner Yara International’s Porsgrunn plant in Norway to Brevik Transporting fertilizers in Hong Kong can reduce the carbon emissions of 40,000 diesel trucks each year. The vessel will initially be operated manually as part of a two-year trial period, but will later be certified as an autonomously sailing all-electric "unmanned" container ship.

It is understood that the concept of the "Yara Birkeland" was originally proposed in 2017 and was developed by Yara in cooperation with Norway's Kongsberg Maritime. In August 2018, Yara signed a construction contract with Norwegian shipyard VARD worth NOK 250 million ($29.6 million), which is far more expensive than a conventional ship of similar capacity.

"Yara Birkeland" adopts Marin Teknikk's MT207 design, with a length of 80 meters and a width of 15 meters, capable of carrying 120 standard containers of 20 feet, with a normal speed of 6 knots and a maximum speed of 13 knots. Initially, the ship was scheduled to be delivered in early 2020, but it was delayed due to the epidemic, and it was not officially completed until the end of 2020 and left the VARD shipyard. Afterwards, the vessel underwent container loading and stability tests before preparing for the next step of autonomous voyage at Norway’s port and test area in Horten.

 The vessel features advanced technologies developed and delivered by Kongsberg Maritime, including sensors and integrations required for remote control and unmanned autonomous operations, as well as electric propulsion, batteries and control systems. MacGregor will also provide an automated system that will allow the Yara Birkeland to berth without human intervention.

After being put into operation, the "Yara Birkeland" will be deployed on the route between the ports of Heroya, Brevik and Larvik in southern Norway, and will be responsible for transporting the fertilizer products produced by Yara's plant in Boschgren to the ports of Brevik and Larvik, initially every week. Sailing twice. The Yara Boschgren plant is one of Norway's largest sources of carbon dioxide, and for Yara the use of the containership means reducing the company's carbon dioxide emissions at the Boschgren plant.

The vessel will be operated from the Horten monitoring and operations center of Massterly, the world's first unmanned ship company jointly established by Kongsberg Marine and Wilhelmsen. It is reported that Masserly was established in August 2018 to provide a series of value chain services including design and development, control systems, logistics services and ships for unmanned ships.

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