Two earlier articles (here and here) looked at shortlisted and winning entrants in the initial three occasions of the Nor-Shipping Ship Awards. This article will look at the last three occasions from 2015 through to 2019.
The year 2015 was a significant one for Nor-Shipping marking 50 years since the inaugural exhibition that it has developed from and it was also a record year for entries in the two ship award categories. Entries came from all corners of the globe either from ship operators, designers or shipbuilders. The wide variety of ship types encompassed a range of sizes from tugs and coasters through to ultra large container carriers, bulkers and tankers and included ferries, cargo ships of every description and offshore and survey vessels.
With 2015 being the year before the NOx Tier III rules came into effect it was expected that the Next Generation candidates might have reflected this. 2015 was also the year when Phase 1 of EEDI was implemented requiring a 10% reduction in emissions of CO2 for newbuildings. In anticipation of the new rules, several ships built in the two preceding years were designed to be already compliant – a factor that the awards jury took into account when selecting the winning candidate.
2015 Energy Efficiency Award
There was a change to the entry criteria for this year allowing vessels built before the 2103 Nor-Shipping to enter if they had undergone a major retrofit or conversion.
The four shortlisted vessels were:
Ampere – A Norwegian ro-pax ferry with no direct emissions due to it being the world’s first electric powered car ferry powered entirely by battery. The innovative vessel was originally developed as a submission to a Norwegian Ministry of Transport competition in which the winner would get a 10-year license to operate the Lavik-Oppedal route beginning in 2015. To reduce the energy consumption, the vessel has a lightweight aluminium construction. The low weight makes it possible to optimise hull shape and create a propeller system of high efficiency.
Vessels of this type were not then covered under the EEDI rules.
Harvest Frost – A 95,000dwt bulk carrier designed by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, built by Oshima Shipbuilding and owned by Archer Daniels Midland the US agriculture and logistics specialist. MHI provided most of its innovative features, including the conceptual design, various green technologies and the Mitsubishi Air Lubrication System (MALS). The vessel also features a new bow shape designed to reduce wave-making resistance. It also featured other energy saving devices in the propulsion area of the hull. The vessel makes use of Miller timing in its main and auxiliary engines – reducing SOx and NOx emissions. The turbocharges of the main engine have variable inlet geometry that improves efficiency and performance under low load conditions.
Harvest Frost’s EEDI rating is 2.96 or about 26% below the applicable standards at the time.
New Horizon class PCTC – The New Horizon design was developed in close cooperation between Höegh Autoliners and Deltamarin. These vessels were built by Xiamen Shipbuilding Industry in China. They have an overall length of 199.6m and beam of 36.5m, with special attention paid to optimisation of the hull form to combine high cargo capacity and low fuel oil consumption. The design features an aerodynamically shaped bow section and an enhanced ventilation fan system for easy maintenance and reduced wind resistance. At 8,500ceu capacity the vessels offer 15% greater cargo capacity than other ships with similar dimensions.
The first of the six vessels in the series was christened Hoegh Target on the opening day of the exhibition in June 2015.
Pirgos – proving that all types of ships are considered and progress through the judging procedure, the 79m Pirgos, with its RINA Green+ notation, is a general cargo vessel intended for European coastal trading. Featuring a new bow shape that has low wave resistance and requires the lowest main engine power to achieve 13.5 kt, as compared with the similar sized cargo vessels in the world. The low power requirement translates into low fuel consumption. Daily consumption is approximately seven tonnes per day, including generators. The Istanbul Technical University stated at the time of the show that a CFD analysis and pool test it performed showed the design was the world’s most efficient, economic and environmental project.
The winner of the award was the bulk carrier Harvest Frost. Contributing factors to its selection was the use of innovative technologies especially the air lubrication system which was novel at the time and bulk carriers were not then considered as pioneers of new technologies. Two further sisters have since been added to the owner’s fleet.
Harvest Frost was in the headlines again in July 2020 when the crew rescued two sailors stranded on a yacht off the coast of Western Sahara. The two sailors had set out on a sailing trip on June 18 from Dakar, Senegal to Las Palmas in Spain. After two weeks at sea, the yacht experienced engine problems, eventually losing its sails and mast due to strong winds and sea swells up to four meters.
The rescue took place at night and once they were onboard, COVID-19 protocols and all due precautions were observed to ensure everyone’s health and safety. The yacht was left behind, while the sailors were taken safely to their next port of call in Lisbon, Portugal.
2015 Next Generation Ship Award
Whether it was a lack of firm newbuilding orders or maybe just a time of innovative, blue-sky thinking, the entry list for the Next Generation Ship Award featured an unusually high number of concepts both for vessels and for elements of ship construction.
In the spirit of forward thinking, the jury selected three of these among the four shortlisted candidates.
Vindskip – Developed by Lade, Vindskip was a hybrid eco-efficient vessel designed to use wind for propulsion in conjunction with an LNG-fuelled main engine for sustainable transport at sea. Inspired by the aerospace industry and the sailing environment, its unique aspect was the design of the hull, both above and under water. In appropriate wind conditions, the hull shape resembles a symmetrical aerofoil as it generates an aerodynamic lift pulling the ship forward. Estimated fuel savings could be up to 60% according to computer testing, animation and logging of data on board an in-service reference ship.
Although the concept has yet to be turned into reality, it has been patented and continues to attract attention and titles in Award programmes.
Coralius – This 5,800 m3 LNG bunkering vessel features a dual-fuel engine, thrusters that facilitate enhanced close-quarters manoeuvring and ice class notation (1A), which allows it to trade in the Baltic region during winter. In combination with the hull design of low block coefficient, the emissions are significantly lower than that of traditional vessels as the ship will run on LNG derived from the cargo. The building of Coralius was part of the EU project Pilot LNG, which aimed to establish an LNG bunkering infrastructure. Coralius was delivered by the Royal Bodewes shipyard at the end of 2017.
Today, the path opened by Coralius for LNG bunkering is being followed by numerous new ships allowing the use of LNG as a fuel to finally accelerate. In November 2020, Coralius set a new record by supplying LNG bunkers to four vessels within the space of 12 hours – notable because even though the number of LNG-fuelled ships is increasing, demand is still sporadic.
DP 116 Short Sea Pioneer – This concept design included a mother ship and several smaller daughter vessels. The concept envisages the mother ship sailing between major ports, stopping outside smaller ports where the daughter ships dock inside the stern of the mother ship. This enables fast load transfer via a travelling gantry crane installed on the mother ship. The daughter ships can be operated by battery power and recharged from shore. The mother ship can be powered by a hybrid or LNG system. The concept was developed by a consortium that includes NCE Maritime CleanTech, Eker Sandvik Design, Cargo Freighters and North Sea Container Line (NCL).
The design project ended in 2016 with no vessels ever having been constructed, but it is an idea that could well be revised on numerous levels and scales as pressure to clean the air in port cities grows.
Ulstein X-stern as on SX175 type – Ulstein’s X-Stern is a design feature for DP-equipped vessels that increases operability through positive effects on station-keeping and wave response in harsh conditions. Developed for vessels dependent on the best possible motion characteristics, it has a sloping and higher stern, allowing for a sharp stern shape in which the transom plate is replaced by a pointed aft. With the X-Stern, a vessel can stay positioned with the stern facing towards the weather, even in harsh conditions.
In the run up to Nor-Shipping, Ulstein received the first order for the concept and by late 2016 the Service Operations Vessel Windea La Cour, became the first vessel to feature the X-Stern hull to enter service when it commenced working in the 600 megawatt Gemini wind farm in the Netherlands for Siemens Wind Power Service. Further vessels have since been built.
It was the combination of the functionality of the X-stern and the fact that an order had been received for it to feature on a firm order that convinced the Jury to select the X-stern as the winner of the Award for 2015.
Shipbuilding fall off hits 2017 entry list
There was another large entry for the 2017 Awards, slightly down on 2015 but quite understandable given the problems besetting the shipping industry. Offshore related vessels were notably affected this time. The entries for both awards covered a diverse range of ship types which, while welcome as representing the appeal of being recognised as a winner of the awards, always makes the judges’ task harder as they must compare very different merits of the ship types.
Highlighting this diversity, the four vessels chosen for the shortlist of the Energy Efficiency Award included a LNG carrier, a bulk carrier, a cruise ship and a ro-pax ferry while the Next Generation Ship Award shortlist comprised a container vessel concept, an IMO II type chemical/product tanker, and two quite different ferry types.
The four ships on the Energy Efficiency Award shortlist were:
Harmony of the Seas – the latest and largest in Royal Caribbean’s Oasis Class featuring no less than 89 different energy efficiency improvements over the original ship that have all contributed to making the vessel 20% more efficient. With so many initiatives implemented, it was not “one” major improvement that drove the incredible results, but rather the holistic approach which evaluated and addressed every function on board: propulsion, hull design, power generation, energy recovery, machinery, hotel and HVAC.
Since COVID, Harmony of the Seas along with most other cruise ships has been prevented from operating. The ship can make one claim to fame having been used as the location for most of the 2018 Netflix movie, “Like Father.” The film stars Kristen Bell, Kelsey Grammer and Seth Rogen and is a comedy about a workaholic woman jilted at the alter who takes her estranged father on a cruise where they rediscover the meaning of family.
Seaspan Swift – the first of two innovative ro-pax ferries owned by Seaspan with an LNG/Hybrid propulsion system consisting of Wärtsilä dual-fuel engines which run mainly on LNG and a Corvus battery energy storage system. The vessels were designed by VARD Marine in Canada and built in Turkey. The ship usually has 60 road trailers on board. Changes made to the hull during development allowed for a 14% efficiency improvement and a massive reduction in the GHG emissions calculated on a per trailer basis compared to the ships they replaced.
In March this year Seaspan announced that it will replace the battery system on Seaspan Swift’s sister vessel Seaspan Reliant with Corvus’ new Blue Whale system. The replaced system will be transferred to Seaspan Swift increasing battery capacity.
Seri Camellia – an LNG carrier with Moss type tanks enclosed by an Integrated Hull System which adds strength to the hull but allows for a decrease in steel weight while at the same time improving aerodynamic efficiency compared to conventional Moss tank type ships. The ship also features Mitsubishi’s Ultra Steam Turbine Propulsion Plant, a two-stage feed water heating system which utilises heat recovery to achieve 13% improvement in efficiency over conventional steam turbines. A variety of other energy saving devices and environmentally friendly systems also feature.
Seri Camellia made history in 2017 when it loaded the cargo that gave Petronas the cachet of being the first company ever to export LNG from a floating production unit, beating competitors Shell and Inpex. The vessel loaded from, Petronas’ Satu facility off the coast of Borneo.
Venture Joy – a 43,500dwt, geared Handysize bulker designed by Deltamarin for Hamburg Bulk Carriers, Germany. The vessel’s optimised hull form and propulsion system allowed it to meet EEDI Phase III requirements nine years ahead of the introduction. This represents a 30% CO2 emission reduction over the existing rules and around 40% on the average for the then fleet of this ‘workhorse’ ship type. The ship is also fitted with an LNG dual-fuel ready engine which could allow for a further 20% reduction with the installation of LNG tanks and fuel system.
The Jury selected Venture Joy as the winner after which its owner said winning the coveted accolade was proof of HBC´s “green and innovative concept” and a motivation to continue on this path, according to the company slogan “SHIPPING FOR COMPLIMENTS”.
2017 Next generation Award
The jury’s shortlisted candidates included a concept designs, two newbuildings and a retrofit/conversion project.
Container feeder ship designs – this entry by Danish naval architects Knud E Hansen actually encompassed three ship types; a 2,000teu vessel optimised for shallow water ports where the needed small propeller diameter is replaced by a more efficient dual arrangement of fixed propeller and contra-rotating azipod, a 3,800teu type with a larger single propeller type for deeper ports with a dual-fuel power plant and an innovative trimaran hull form and a 3,000teu ship which overcomes cargo handling problems often associated with high sided narrow feeder vessels and allows for faster speeds and a better cargo mix.
Product/chemical tanker design FKAB 7990 for use in SECAs – Entered by Sirius Shipping, Sweden. The ship is 7990dwt, 9,700 m3, Tier III oil product tanker for chemicals (IMO II) designed for low fuel consumption and high cargo capacity. Planned to be LNG ready with deck fitment of two LNG type C tanks. Propulsion is provided by a medium speed dual fuel engine with a gearbox to be fitted with PTO and shaft generator coupled to a CP propeller. PTI ‘Take me home’ device, through a retractable bow thruster from the auxiliaries. In order to save fuel the shaft generator is connected via a frequency converter allowing optimum propeller rpm at various speeds. Alternatively a four stroke engine can be fitted.
The actual vessel named as Saturnus was delivered by Chinese builder Avic Dingheng in 2018 as the first of the owner’s Evolution class.
Hybrid plug in ferry – Being built by Ulstein Verft and Fosen Yard for Color Line intended for operating internationally between Norway and Sweden. The ship is a plug-in hybrid, in which the batteries are recharged via a power cable with green electricity from shore facilities or, as a secondary alternative, recharged on board by the ship’s four main generators. The 160m loa and 27.1m beam vessel with a gross tonnage of around 30,000gt meant that in 2017 it was the world’s largest hybrid vessel. The battery arrangement means that the vessel can operate without emissions in sensitive areas or port environments.
Again, the vessel was officially unnamed at the time of the Awards but was christened very aptly as Color Hybrid the name it had been called throughout its construction when launched in 2019.
Conversion of diesel ferries Tycho Brahe and Aurora – as well as making history as being the first conversion project to make a Nor-Shipping Award shortlist, the pair were to be the world’s largest emission-free electric ferries, and the first delivered with automated shore-side charging station. The conversions involved 4,160kWh battery packs for each vessel, an energy storage control system and Onboard DC Grid technology. At both ends of the route ABB would supply the first automated shore-side charging stations using an ABB industrial robot, to optimise the connection time and therefore maximise the charging period.
Color Hybrid was selected as the winner of the 2017 Next Generation Ship Award as the jury felt that the ship had the ability to influence the design of many more types of vessels going forward. Having collected the Next Generation Ship Award in 2017, Color Hybrid was again a winner at Nor-Shipping in 2019 when named ‘Ship of the Year’ by maritime magazine Skipsrevyen in its annual award.
Battery packs are becoming increasingly common on ships of all types and for vessels making short voyages are already becoming a viable alternative to conventional engines.
2019 Awards – two into one will go
In 2019, the organisers of Nor-Shipping decided that the line between the two awards was becoming blurred and that there was a case for combining the two awards into one. The criteria was revised to reflect the main points from both awards and a restriction placed on concepts to ensure their commercial viability.
There was once again a very diverse range of entries from around the globe and some intense discussion by the jury over selecting the shortlist and winning candidates. The four selected entries were:
Yara Birkeland – destined to be the world’s first fully electric, zero emissions and autonomous container ship. The move to all electric operations also extends onto land. Loading and unloading will be done automatically using electric cranes and equipment. The ship will also be equipped with an automatic mooring system. Powered by hydroelectric and a battery energy storage system, Yara Birkeland and the port infrastructure will produce no harmful greenhouse gasses for the entire operational lifecycle.
Under-construction by Norwegian shipbuilder Vard, Yara Birkeland was planned to be one of the first Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships (MASS) to enter commercial operations. The move to unmanned operations will be phased, giving Yara International and Kongsberg time to test the advanced systems that enable operation without a human at the helm. When first delivered from the Yard Yara Birkeland will be a manned vessel. Autonomous functions will gradually be implemented, tested and validated.
After experiencing delays due to Covid-19, the world’s first battery-powered autonomous vessel is expected to go into operations towards the end of 2021.
In one of the most eagerly anticipated ship deliveries, Norwegian shipbuilder Vard handed the ship to Yara International in November 2020. The owner said at the time the vessel would undergo testing for container loading and stability, before heading to a test area in Horten for further preparations for autonomous operation.
AET Shuttle tankers –built by Samsung and described as exceptionally fuel-efficient, the twin-screw vessels feature low-pressure two-stroke WinGD main engines and Wartsila DF auxiliaries. In addition to running on LNG, an on-board Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) Recovery System also captures and convert liquid VOCs from oil cargoes for reuse as a supplementary fuel for propulsion and power generation.
This combined VOC and LNG propulsion capability will save an estimated 3,000 tonnes of fuel every year and reduce CO2 emissions significantly. The ships have two shaft generators driven by the main engines which in combination with a DC Grid system will save a further 1,000 tonnes of fuel annually.
The sister twin-skeg 123,100dwt shuttle tankers, Eagle Blane and Eagle Balder, were named in October 2019 and delivered in February and March 2020 respectively.
Teekay E-Shuttle tankers – A series of hybrid Suezmax shuttle tankers built at Samsung. Teekay’s new E-Shuttle tankers operate on both LNG as the primary fuel, and a mixture of LNG and recovered volatile organic compounds (VOCs) as secondary fuel, with MGO as backup. In addition the ships also feature a battery hybrid system that also has a direct positive impact on the main machinery operation, resulting in fewer running hours and consequently lower maintenance time and costs. Further, safety is enhanced by the batteries assisting in DP mode thus allowing for immediate power when needed.
Aurora Spirit – the first of the four sister vessels was delivered in January 2020 with the other three ships; Current Spirit, Rainbow Spirit and Tide Spirit following through the rest of the year. Although sometimes still referred to as the Teekay E-Shuttle tankers, the ownership was transferred to Altera Infrastructure in March 2020.
Gagarin Prospect – the world’s first Aframax tanker designed to use LNG as its primary fuel. She was delivered from Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries in July 2018 and is time-chartered to Shell for up to ten years. She is the first of an initial order of six such vessels by Sovcomflot as part of its ‘Green Funnel’ initiative, launched in partnership with Shell to introduce LNG as a primary fuel for large-capacity tankers and, in general, for vessels not tied to fixed routes or set timetables.
Gagarin Prospect is ice-classed, and all its main engines, auxiliaries and boilers can burn LNG. An SCR system allows NOx Tier III operation even when not running on LNG.
In choosing the winner of the award the jury was involved in some passionate debate about the merits of the different vessels especially since three were LNG-powered tankers. The final vote for the winner was a majority decision rather than a unanimous one and arguably the closest run contest in the Awards’ history.
The jury decided that, although Gagarin Prospect was not as technologically advanced as some of the other contenders that are still under construction, the decision to build the ship was bold, and taken at the beginning of the seven year time span covered by the award. At that time there was also no established bunkering infrastructure, and the ship was also ordered without a long-term charter in place, making the decision a pioneering one which many of the jury felt fully reflected the ethos of the Next Generation Ship Award criteria.
Looking forward, the organisers are hoping that the entries for the next award will again reflect the diversity of ship type, technology and geographical spread that has become a hallmark of the award.