VESSEL REVIEW | Marit & Therese – Autonomous electric Ro-Ro pair for Norway’s Asko Maritime

Photo: Cochin Shipyard

Asko Maritime, the marine cargo transport division of Norwegian retail company Asko, has taken delivery of two new freight-only Ro-Ro vessels in a series built by Cochin Shipyard of India.

Marit and Therese were designed by naval architecture firm Naval Dynamics Norway as the first cargo vessels in the world to be built from the outset with both electric propulsion and autonomous navigation technology. Their development is part of a Norwegian government-funded project that seeks to introduce emission-free marine transport in the waters of the Oslofjord.

The vessels are also being promoted as a low-emission alternative to road transport, which until recently was the only means for Asko to transport its goods between its warehouses on the western side of the fjord and its distribution centre on the eastern side. The project partners expect the vessels’ regular sailings will yield CO2 emissions reductions of as much as 5,000 tonnes each year.

Photo: Cochin Shipyard

Each ship has a length of 67 metres, a displacement of 600 tonnes, and capacity for 16 fully loaded, 29-tonne standard EU trailers. Propulsive power will be drawn from 1,846kWh battery packs.

The Ro-Ros will be operated on behalf of Asko by Massterly, a joint venture formed by Kongsberg Maritime and shipping company Wilhelmsen. The vessels will sail a number of round trips on the Oslofjord each day. Asko said the vessels will be operated by embarked crews for two years under the supervision of the Norwegian Maritime Authority as part of a testing period before they will be permitted to sail unmanned across the same routes.

Additional vessels from the same series are slated for construction. After the autonomous navigation concept is fully proven using the first two ships, the future Ro-Ros in the series will have their bridge crew positions omitted. Control or monitoring will instead be conducted from a shore-based remote operation centre (ROC) positioned near the vessels’ daily routes. The partners expect that daily crossings of the Oslofjord will increase to 150 by 2030 after the additional Ro-Ros enter service.

Kongsberg Maritime was responsible for equipping the vessels with autonomous navigation systems. Kongsberg will provide connectivity, using maritime broadband radio (MBR) as well as 4G and, eventually, 5G mobile broadband.

Design work on Marit and Therese was done in compliance to DNV class rules.

Click here for more news stories, feature articles, and vessel reviews as part of this month’s focus on unmanned craft.

Marit & Therese
Type of vessel:Ro-Ro vessels
Owner:Asko Maritime, Norway
Operator:Massterly, Norway
Designer:Naval Dynamics Norway
Builder:Cochin Shipyard, India
Length overall:67 metres
Displacement:600 tonnes
Capacity:16 trailers
Batteries:1,846 kWh
Radio:Kongsberg Maritime broadband
Other electronics:Kongsberg Maritime autonomous navigation system
Operational area:Oslofjord, Norway

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