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325,000 dwt giant bulker gets the wind rotor treatment, Vale keen on further sail investments

The largest ship to date has had wind propulsion kit fixed to its deck. Pan Ocean’s 325,000 dwt Sea Zhoushan very large ore carrier newbuild, due to go on charter to Brazilian miner Vale, is now sporting five white, 25 m high Norsepower rotor sails across its huge deck. The rotor sails can be tilted by using hydraulic cylinders. The solution is fully automated and detects whenever the wind is strong enough to deliver fuel and emission savings, at which point the sails start automatically.

The sails’ manufacturer, Norsepower, claims the new vessel will enjoy an efficiency gain of up to 8% and a consequent reduction of up to 3,400 tons of CO2 per year. By Splash estimates, the installed equipment will result in fuel savings of just over $500,000 a year based on today’s Rotterdam VLSFO prices.

Further wind rotors are likely to be added on other ships on contract to the Brazilian miner. Rodrigo Bermelho, shipping technical manager at Vale, said that if the pilot with the Sea Zhoushan proves effective, at least 40% of Vale’s long term chartered fleet could be able to use the technology, which would result in a reduction of almost 1.5% of Vale’s annual iron ore maritime transport emissions.

Commenting on the installation, Tuomas Riski, CEO of Norsepower, said: “Installing our rotor sails on the first VLOC demonstrates that our technology is adaptable across varied operational profiles and vessel types. As vessel operators and charterers strive to decarbonise, the value of wind propulsion for both a retrofit and newbuild vessels is undeniable.”

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.


  1. Great stuff, lets have lots more of those please.

    Worth noting that if it saves 3400 tonnes/CO2 then it also saved $340,000 of the proposed GHG levy proposed by RMI/SOLS. Moonshot? Nah, no-brainer surely.

  2. Highly informative news about wind rotor treatment for a giant bulk carrier. This will certainly trigger further investment and development in the marine industry.

  3. How this rotor technices helps wil it helps both in opposite winds and favour winds..
    Working principle

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