Swiss commodity trading company Mercuria has partnered with ÈTA Shipping to build up to 16 vessels, built by Taizhou Sanfu Ship Engineering Co. Ltd.
The “state-of-the-art” ships will be equipped with electric propellers fueled by conventional or low-carbon fuels, in line with the partnership’s goal of sustainable short-sea shipping.
The modular construction of the TA 6700 boat allows the main engine to be dispensed with, yet the boat can still achieve 10.5 knots at full load at less than 900 kW.
However, the electricity supply is provided by an on-board generator, which calls into question the company’s commitment to “sustainability”.
“Electricity is provided by a generator, which can run on conventional or low-carbon fuels. It can also be connected to any sustainable energy source, such as batteries or fuel cell technology that can run on green hydrogen, methanol or ammonia. Zero-emission solutions can be added or replaced The generator was originally installed,” the company explained in a statement.
Mercuria co-founder Sam Gombra highlighted how the boat’s modular design allows for easy power adjustments.
“The ship’s modular design allows for easy swapping of the power source, which can be anything as long as it generates electricity,” Gombra said.
“We estimate that it would take less than a day to remove the existing power generation system and replace it in whole or in part without the need for a shipyard.
Mercuria said the vessels built under the partnership will be the most efficient Ice 1A vessels in their class and that automation will play an important role.
The Swiss company says that with increased automation comes increased safety measures, so that safe management of the ship can reduce the number of crew members from six to four.
“The ship’s 3D management tool uses more than 1,300 sensors to provide crew and technicians with virtual navigation, access to equipment data and analysis of historical trends,” explains Walter van Gruijthuijsen, co-founder of ÈTA Shipping.