Photo: MOL

Maritime wind propulsion association gains IMO consultative status

The International Windship Association (IWSA) has been granted full consultative status at the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), the regulatory body confirmed.

wind
Illustration. Image by MOL

As explained, this will help bring wind-assist and primary wind propulsion issues to the fore as the wind technology segment continues to grow and the industry looks to this abundant, emission-free energy source to help propel the commercial fleet into an uncertain, tightly carbon-constrained future.

It is a critical period for the industry with EEXI and CII regulations coming into force next year and the challenging discussions over carbon levies and raising the decarbonisation ambition for 2050 on the table in London.

It is with this backdrop that wind-assist systems and primary wind propulsion vessel designs will be scaled into the fleet over the next couple of years.

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“At the thirty-second regular session, the IMO Assembly endorsed the decision of the thirty-fourth extraordinary session of the IMO Council to grant consultative status to the International Windship Association (IWSA). We look forward to a close working relationship between our two organizations,” Frederick J. Kenney, Director, IMO Legal Affairs and External Relations Division, said.

IWSA is a not-for-profit organisation that has over 150 members from across the industry and brings with it an extensive network of specialists, technology providers, designers, engineers and operators.

“We are delighted to be granted consultative status and of course acknowledge that there is plenty of work to be done to reach our shared goals of a safe, clean and prosperous maritime transport sector. We also acknowledge that this status comes with a level of responsibility to keep the IMO and the flag states up-to-date with key developments in this specialist technology sector,” Gavin Allwright, IWSA Secretary General, commented.

The IWSA has already been contributing to IMO programs over the past three years through a seat on the Maritime Technology Cooperation Centres Stakeholder Advisory Committee. The most recent MEPC 77 also saw amendments to the assessment of wind propulsion with the adoption of the circular 896, ‘Guidance on Treatment of Innovative Energy Efficiency Technologies for Calculation and Verification of the Attained EEDI and EEXI’ backed by Comoros, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, Spain, Netherlands and RINA.

“There is still quite a perception gap when it comes to the uptake of wind propulsion,” Allwright continued.

“Currently, we have more large commercial vessels in operation using wind propulsion systems than all zero-emission fuel options combined and the signs are there for this to scale strongly in the coming years and yet there is a distinct lack of integration of direct wind propulsion at the heart of our industry’s efforts to decarbonise.”

“The direct use of wind energy has great potential to quickly accelerate these efforts while also helping to lower costs dramatically across the board and facilitate the uptake of other low carbon energy and fuel options.”