Climate-neutral sailing ship for the Marshall Islands launched in South Korea

An environmentally friendly sailing ship intended for the Marshall Islands has been launched in South Korea.


The launching ceremony for the Pacific Island supply vessel took place at Asia Shipbuilding in Geoje, South Korea, on November 15, 2023.

In June this year, the abovementioned yard hosted a keel-laying ceremony for the vessel which will provide a trading, research, and training platform for the Republic of the Marshall Islands.

Financed by the International Climate Initiative (IKI) as part of the German government’s international climate finance commitment, the ship is a result of the collaboration between the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), the research unit at the University of Applied Sciences Emden/Leer (HEL), SDC Ship Design & Consult, Kostec and the Marshall Islands Shipping Corporation (MISC).

Another participant in the project is Briese Research from Leer to support the construction supervision and commissioning of the ship.

The project partners envisage an emission reduction of about 80 percent, with the aim of achieving climate neutrality in the future.

The newbuilding is equipped with an efficient sail system as well as photovoltaic (PV) units for onboard power generation.

“We are pleased that the new ship has reached this milestone and is now entering the final phase of equipment. This will be very exciting for our construction supervisor in South Korea, as many technical systems will now have to be installed and tested. Some fine-tuning is still required,” Prof. Captain Michael Vahs from Emden/Leer University, who coordinates the technological development as a project partner, commented.

“Despite the relatively simple and cost-effective construction concept, there are many innovations in the ship that are exemplary for future zero-emission shipping,” he added.

The approximately 48-meter-long and 300 dwt island supplier for the Marshall Islands is equipped with a partially automated sailing system of the INDOSAIL type. The sailing system originally developed for Indonesia in Hamburg by shipbuilding engineer Peter Schenzle (HSVA) was adapted to local requirements and is intended to give the ship a speed of up to approximately 12 knots with a sail area of ​​around 500 square meters.

If there is excess sailing power, the propeller recuperates and supplies the onboard electrical system via a hybrid transmission with an attached generator.

A powerful battery pack serves as storage. The same generator can act as an electric drive motor on the propeller and be available to the ship for slow maneuvering. A diesel engine with an output of approximately 250 kW is installed as a redundancy drive, which guarantees the ship the required minimum speed of 7 knots even without sail propulsion and under rough sea conditions.

In the future, it will be possible to use regionally produced biodiesel as the ship’s fuel.

Further technical highlights include a powerful PV system for onboard power supply, as well as new wing keels, which were developed in the Maritime Technical Center at Emden/Leer University and are intended to give the ship better sailing efficiency and high course stability.

As informed, the cooperation with HEL is planned to be extended to further newbuildings. The newly launched ship concept will be available in different sizes with different structural and equipment variants according to the customer’s requirements. This also includes a variant with fully automated Flettner rotors.