MSC trials SAVER Air system on MSC Gülsün

MSC's 23,756 TEU <i>MSC Gülsün</i> is the largest container vessel in service. MSC's 23,756 TEU MSC Gülsün is the largest container vessel in service.

Containership operator Mediterranean Shipping Company's (MSC) has installed an air lubrication system to its latest 23,700 TEU container ship. MSC has fitted shipbuilder Samsung Heavy Industries’ (SHI) SAVER Air, air lubrication system to the latest vessel delivered, MSC Gülsün, and has made five of its other new 23,700 TEU vessels air lubrication ready.

Six of MSC's 11 mega-container ships on order will be built at SHI and one of these will initially be fitted with the SAVER Air system while the remaining five have been made ready to fit the system should the savings on the initial vessel prove successful.

In a statement to The Motorship, MSC confirmed that the company was considering fitting the SHI’s SAVER Air system to its new 23,700TEU vessels. “MSC continues to experiment with air lubrification systems and other systems to make container shipping even more energy efficient. Some of the Gülsün Class of 11 ships will be fitted with these.”

MSC Gülsün was delivered to the owner on 19 August and boasts a number environmentally friendly technologies that will improve the vessel’s performance compared to ships of a similar type. The vessel’s MAN B&W 11G95ME-C9.5 engine has been supplied on a dual-fuel ready basis, while the vessel is fitted with an exhaust gas cleaning system.

The vessel’s engines have been optimised for a top speed of 21 knots, compared to 25 knots for previous container ships, which will reduce its fuel consumption. According to MSC the vessel emits 7.59g of carbon dioxide/tonne mile and is also capable of cold ironing in port to reduce emissions in and around the port area.

The SAVER Air lubrication system is a Bubble Drag Reduction (BDR) system, using pumps to blow air through the bottom of the vessel’s hull to create an air cushion on which the ship rides reducing drag substantially, by up to 10%, and ultimately reducing the fuel used to move the vessel over a given distance at a measured speed.

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