Shofu Maru owes its uniqueness to the sail. Although this only supports the drivetrain, it still saves fuel and reduces emissions
The Shofu Maru is the responsibility of Oshima Shipbuilding, which is already planning a second transport vessel with a similar sail, but the Drybulk ordered by Eniva MOL will be much smaller. As the main vessel has a carrying capacity of 100,422 tonnes, Drybulk will be ‘only’ 62,900 tonnes when it is delivered in 2024 and starts carrying wood pellets. We remind you, the deadline load capacity it determines how much cargo (in tons) the ship can carry, which includes not only the goods themselves, but also the crew and necessary equipment, fuel or supplies.
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Both ships share a hardsail foredeck, the so-called Wind Challenger. It is a telescopic fiberglass sail that can be extended up to 55 meters, rotate according to the direction of the wind and support the traditional propulsion system using the force of the wind. The maiden voyage of the Shofu Maru confirmed the effectiveness of this ancient sailing technique, reducing fuel consumption and thus greenhouse gas emissions.
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The aforementioned 5% fuel saving for a container ship voyage from Australia to Japan seems modest, but in practice it is as much as 25,000 liters of fuel, as half a million liters of fuel are normally expected for a voyage of this type. Remember that every year about one billion metric tons of carbon dioxide are released into the atmosphere by container ships, which is three percent of total greenhouse gas emissions. So this is definitely a step in the right direction and the Shofu Maru is pioneering a return to the use of wind power in the seas and oceans as this container ship is expected to be followed by more soon.