Fincantieri's Vard delivers world's first autonomous container feeder
The zero-emissions container vessel Yara Birkeland has been shipped by Fincantieri's Vard division to its owner, fertilizer manufacturer Yara International.
The 120 TEU Yara Birkeland is the world's first commercially accessible battery-electric container feeder, and the ultimate objective of the project partners is to run it as an autonomous vessel.
Vard's Braila yard in Romania constructed the vessel's hull, and initially her outfitting and delivery were scheduled for completion at Vard Brevik. The job was later moved to Vard Brattvaag, and because of the COVID-19 pandemic, a scheduled second-quarter delivery was pushed back.
"We have been through an exiting process with technological development and have gained a great amount of knowledge about such type of vessels, which we will continue drawing experiences from going forward. This is an example of how flexible we need to be in order to adapt to new technology and changes in the maritime industry," Vard announced in a statement.
A detachable bridge with equipment for maneuvering and navigation has been designed for the first stage of the project. In the future, this module will be lifted off when the ship is ready for autonomous service.
The vessel will carry fertilizer from Yara's Porsgrunn fertilizer plant to the deep-sea ports of Larvik and Brevik for a voyage of approximately 30 nautical miles during its commercial deployment.
Maritime Business World