Friday, February 23, 2024

World’s First Electric Autonomous Cargo Ship Launched In Norway

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Oslo: Zero emissions and, soon, zero crew: the world’s first fully electric autonomous cargo vessel was unveiled in Norway, a small but promising step toward reducing the maritime industry’s climate footprint.

By shipping up to 120 containers of fertilizer from a plant in the southeastern town of Porsgrunn to the Brevik port a dozen kilometres (about eight miles) away, the much-delayed Yara Birkeland Norway, shown off to the media on Friday, will eliminate the need for around 40,000 truck journeys a year that are now fuelled by polluting diesel.

“Of course, there have been difficulties and setbacks,” said Svein Tore Holsether, chief executive of Norwegian fertiliser giant Yara.

“But then it feels even more rewarding to stand here today in front this ship and see that we were able to do it,” he said, with the sleek blue-and-white vessel moored behind him in an Oslo dock, where it had been sailed for the event.

The 80-metre, 3,200-deadweight tonne ship will soon begin two years of working trials during which it will be fine-tuned to learn to manoeuvre on its own.

The wheelhouse could disappear altogether in “three, four or five years”, said Holsether, once the vessel makes its 7.5-nautical-mile trips on its own with the aid of sensors.

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