First Oceangoing Sail-Assisted Bulker Delivered By NKK
Nippon Kokan (NKK) in Japan has recently delivered the world's first oceangoing, sail-assisted vessel, the 30,900-dwt bulk carrier Aqua City to her owner, Aqua City Maritime Inc. NKK has pioneered in the design of sailassisted ships in conjunction with the Japan Maritime Machinery Development Association and built the first such vessel, Shin Aitoku Maru, in 1980. Since that time, six smaller coastal and short-range vessels have been put into service in Japan.
The first such vessel to fly a non-Japanese flag, the Panamanian-registered Aqua City is serving the Japan-Canada-U.S. West Coast route, and has recently completed her maiden voyage from Yokohama to Vancouver. The vessel has an overall length of 590.2 feet, beam of 83.3 feet, depth of 47.6 feet, and draft of 34 feet. Her main engine has an output of 8,300 bhp at 99 rpm; service speed is 14 knots. Total area of the two sails mounted atop her bow section is 352 square meters.
The two sets of parabolic-shaped, rectangular sails, on steel frames, are 16 meters high by 11 meters wide. Computer-controlled, they respond automatically to shifts in wind direction, and are said to provide up to 30 percent fuel savings under the best conditions.