The First Crewless Cargo Ship To Make Its First Voyage This Year

Published on August 26, 2021
Image Credit: [Yara International]

Yara International, a Norwegian chemical company, is going to be the first to sail a fully autonomous, entirely electric cargo ship. The voyage is scheduled to commence some time this year. The Yara Birkeland is going to travel from Herøya to Brevik while three control rooms keep tabs on the vessel.

This concept was first developed in 2017 and was originally planned to set sail in 2020. But like most other things in 2020, the still ongoing COVID-19 pandemic delayed the trip.

The vessel is slow. How slow? Well, it has TWO 900kw propulsion systems and can only reach a speed of 15 miles (24 km) per hour. Don’t worry, I’m not going to mention any outdated speed ratings. This boat has a MASSIVE 7 MWh battery. That is not a typo. The M is supposed to be there, I promise.

The company that is doing this has estimated the Yara Birkeland would replace about 40,000 truck trips per year. Something on that order would dramatically reduce the CO2 and nitrous oxide emissions in the county. Another added benefit of this ship and others like it is that they could majorly alleviate traffic congestion on land.

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