North Sea unmanned zero-emission feeder project advances
In what represents a further step towards the potential introduction of autonomous zero-emission shipping into the European short-sea sector, Conoship Internation of Groningen has been commissioned to develop an autonomous 200 teu shortsea container vessel design, which will be powered by zero-emission propulsion technology.
The design concept for the full-electric Zulu Maas has been awarded Approval in Principle from Lloyd’s Register. The vessel’s design is based around a modular power generation concept, using a swappable containerised concept to permit third-party energy storage companies to supply battery and/or hydrogen-based power to permit zero-emission electrical propulsion.
The vessel is planned to be initially operational with Anglo Belgian Shipping Company Ltd on Green Corridors between mainland Europe and the UK. The vessel design is noteworthy as it is designed to be unmanned, operating as a part of a Maritime Autonomy System.
The Zulu Maas vessel design project has wider significance, as the regulatory authorities in Belgium, Denmark and the UK have agreed to streamline the permit applications process. The agreement to mutually recognise permit applications submitted in one of the other jurisdictions is expected to greatly simplify the regulatory process. Belgium was among the first states to establish a legal framework for unmanned vessel pilot projects in the North Sea in 2021.