The final four – tankers dominate Nor-Shipping Next Generation Award Shortlist

No less than three of the four ships on the Nor-Shipping Next Generation Ship Award shortlist are tankers with the fourth and final vessel being the Norwegian prototype autonomous feeder container ship Yara Birkeland.

The vessels on the shortlist were selected by the international seven-man jury who were each asked to select their own individual short list of six vessels from the 21 entrants. The jury members choices were presented in order of merit and points awarded according to their ranking so that each judge’s most favoured vessel was awarded six points, the second choice five points and so on down to one point for the vessel in sixth position on the list. All the marks were then aggregated, and the four vessels chosen for the final shortlist being those with the highest overall marks.

The final four selected to be further debated by the jury at a meeting in London are:-

Yara Birkeland 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 hydro-electric 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 will 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 delivered from the Yard early in 2020, Yara Birkeland will be a manned vessel. Autonomous functions will gradually be implemented, tested and validated, with the target of performing fully autonomous unmanned operations by 2022.

AET Shuttle tankers. Being built by Samsung and described as exceptionally fuel-efficient, the twin-screw vessels will feature low pressure two-stroke WinGD main engines and Wartsila DF auxiliaries. In addition to running on LNG, an onboard Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) Recovery System will also capture 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 will 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.

In terms of hull performance, the hull form has been optimised with 2.7% performance improvement from the base model by modifying the hull volume distribution as well as the shape of the skeg, forward and aft hull shape. The hull of the vessels has been designed with superior specification of 30 years fatigue life based on North Atlantic and North Sea trade.

Teekay E-Shuttle tankers. A series of hybrid Suezmax shuttle tankers under construction at Samsung. Teekay’s new “E-Shuttle” tankers will 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.

Tee Kay-shuttle-tanker

VOCs are produced in a gaseous state from evaporation occurring in the oil cargo tanks. This mixture of VOC and LNG as fuel enables the new shuttle tankers to travel from the oil fields on their own waste gas rather than releasing it into the atmosphere. This will reduce both emissions and bunkering requirements considerably. In fact, by reusing those VOCs as a fuel, the annual emissions can be reduced by 42%. But the positive benefits don’t stop there. The new battery hybrid system 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.

Gagarin Prospect is the world’s first Aframax tanker designed to use cleaner-burning LNG as her 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.


With her ice class 1A hull, Gagrarin Prospect is designed for year-round export operations from areas with challenging ice conditions. She is equipped with ice radars and spotlights, ensuring full compliance with the recently introduced Polar Code. Her main engines, auxiliaries, and boilers are dual fuel, capable of using LNG. She is fitted with a low-pressure X-DF dual fuel engine, to minimise the emissions of particulate matter. When not utilising LNG fuel, the installation of Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) technology enables her to comply with the Tier III regulations governing NOx emissions.

With so many vessels to choose from there were inevitable differences in each judges choices and highlighting the fact that all of the very eclectic mix of ships which had entered were worthy of consideration, each of the 21 ships appeared on at least one of the judges individual shortlist.

The entry criteria for ships allows for vessels built or converted from the time of the last Nor-Shipping exhibition in 2017 to vessel planned for delivery in 2024 – a spread of seven years technological advances. Perhaps even more considering at least three of the ships were built before 2017 and were allowed as they had undergone major conversion or retrofit.

All four of the shortlisted vessels will be celebrated and promoted during the Nor-Shipping Exhibition which takes place in Oslo in June. The winner to be selected by the jury will also be presented with the trophy at the Opening Ceremony to be held in the Oslo town Hall on Monday 3 June before the exhibition officially opens the following morning

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