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Construction of Yara Birkeland Paused

Yara Birkeland
Yara Birkeland

By The Maritime Executive 05-12-2020 05:57:56

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the changed global outlook, the agricultural products company Yara has decided to pause further development of its autonomous vessel Yara Birkeland and will assess next steps together with its partners. 

The hull of the Yara Birkeland was launched to sea in Romania in February 2020 and is expected to arrive in Norway in May where she was to be fitted with various control and navigation systems and undergo testing before delivery. 

The 120 TEU open hatch container feeder will have a fully battery powered propulsion system and be prepared for autonomous operation. Yara and technology company Kongsberg teamed up in 2017 with the ambition to build her: the world's first autonomous and zero-emission container vessel. 

The vessel will transport fertilizer from Yara's Porsgrunn plant via inland waterways to the deep-sea ports of Larvik and Brevik, a journey of 31 nautical miles. Replacing 40,000 truck journeys a year, Yara Birkeland is expected to reduce NOx and CO2 emissions and improve road safety in a densely populated urban area in Norway. 

MacGregor, part of Cargotec, and Kongsberg Maritime entered into an agreement last year for MacGregor to deliver an automated mooring system for the vessel. This will enable mooring operations to be undertaken without human intervention.