K Line swoops for Seawing’s kite system

Announced on Thursday at Nor-Shipping, Japanese shipping giant Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha (K Line) has decided to install a giant kite system onto one of its capesizes. 

The Seawing automated system, developed by Airseas, a company recently spun off from aviation major Airbus, will be mounted on the bow of one of K Line’s bulkers. After two years of studying the technology, K Line said yesterday Seawing has the potential to reduce emissions on its ship by more than 20%, shaving off 5,200 tons of CO2 annually. If all goes well with this first ship, K Line has said it will purchase another 50 systems from Airseas.

A simple switch on the bridge launches or recovers the kite which unfolds, operates and refolds autonomously. The system collects and analyses meteorological and oceanic data in real-time to optimise performance. 

It has turned out to be a banner week for supporters of wind propulsion at Nor-Shipping with two Korean major yards, Samsung Heavy and Hyundai Heavy, debuting rotor sail VLCC designs.

“We are delighted to welcome the news of the K Line order for Airseas kite technology, another clear market message that wind propulsion is a credible, viable and increasingly economic solution for shipowners today,”  Gavin Allwright, secretary general of the International Windship Association, told Splash today.

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.
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