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Nor-Shipping Awards – the middle years

Instead of three awards, 2011 and the following three shows after that would see only two ship awards given although in 2013 a new award altogether was to be added in the shape of the Young Entrepreneur Award. A separate article will follow that will take this award as its subject.

In 2011 the Clean Ship category alone was retained from the previous year, but it was joined by a new category for the Next Generation Award. The criteria for the awards were also slightly changed with the Clean Ship Award being for a vessel which had made its debut since just prior to the 2009 event and over the following two years or was expected to be delivered in a short while which the judges believed would make the greatest contribution to reducing emissions air or discharges to sea, relative to its size, function and operation. Thus it was to be awarded to an existing vessel only. By contrast the Next Generation Ship Award was open to new concepts and also to vessels that were in the planning or very early stages of construction.

This distinction would be made for the next four exhibitions through to and including 2017. There was to be one minor change and that was the Clean Ship Award being renamed The Energy Efficiency Award. This minor change reflected the fact that by 2013 international regulations had moved beyond the establishment of Emission Control Areas and into the Energy Efficiency Design Index era.

Increased international flavour

2011 also saw the Jury expanded with the addition of two nominees from Nor-Shipping’s media partners Marine Propulsion and Fairplay Solutions. This change brought with it the first non-Norwegian jury members marking the shift toward the international flavour that has been a feature ever since.

Notably none of the vessels short-listed for the Clean Ship Award – Allure of the Seas, NITC Sifa, Stena Hollandica or Vale Brasil had any Norwegian connection. The same was not true of the Next Generation Ship Award where the Rolls-Royce Environship concept made the cut along with a multi-purpose polar research vessel being built at STX Finland for the South African government, Canadian shipowner Seaspan’s Saver 10,000 design for a NewPanamax container ship of 10,000teu capacity and – perhaps ahead of its time – a wind turbine installation vessel design with a SWATH hull form by Netherlands-based Huisman.

In the event the awards were taken by Vale Brasil and the Rolls-Royce Environship concept.

At 360m long, 65m wide, 30.4m deep and with a draught of 21.5m, Vale Brasil was the biggest iron-ore carrier ever built. Built by Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering it was the first of seven ore carriers ordered by Vale from the South Korean shipyard. Vale had also ordered 12 ships of this type from the Rongsheng Shipbuilding and Heavy Industries shipyard in China.

The ship was an early example of the gigantism that was taking place in shipping generally and the ore and container ship sectors in particular. In part this was done to pre-empt the impending EEDI rules which would come into effect in 2013.

The economies of scale of the new VLOC class would make transporting iron ore cheaper and more fuel efficient, cutting carbon emissions by 35% per tonne transported compared with a standard Capesize bulk carrier.

In the event things did not turn out quite as planned for Vale as in 2012 in order to protect its domestic freight market, China banned ships over 300,000dwt from its ports. Having the vessels already in production and in service, Vale was obliged to set up a transhipment centre in Malaysia where the vessels could be offloaded, and the cargo reloaded on smaller vessels to complete the voyage. China eventually lifted the restriction in the summer of 2015, but continued trading was contingent on Vale selling the vessels to Chinese interests. After a brief spell as Vale Brasil, the ship became the Ore Brasil and is now owned by Hong Kong interests but still operated by Vale.

Vale S.A., Vale Brasil, Clean Ship Award winner 2011.

As the Next Generation Ship Award winner, the Environship featured a new bow shape, LNG propulsion and the potential to be adapted to all manner of applications from aquaculture to short sea cargo use. Winning the award was the icing on the cake for Rolls-Royce which also secured a contract for the first vessel to feature the concept almost simultaneous with the award. The first Rolls-Royce Environship, of NVC 401 LNG design, the Eidsvaag Pioner, was delivered to Norwegian company Eidsvaag in 2013 and entered service on a year-round schedule delivering feed to numerous fish farms around the Norwegian coast. Other vessels have also been built but Rolls-Royce has since transferred its commercial marine business to the Kongsberg Group.

Environship Concept, Rolls-Royce Marine AS, Next Generation Ship Award winner 2011.

From Clean Ship to Efficient Ship – the 2013 awards

Moving on to the following event in 2013, the award criteria remained as for 2011 although the Clean ship Award was renamed the Energy Efficiency Award. This name change coincided with the coming into force of the IMO’s Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) rules aimed at making ships more efficient and less carbon intensive.

There were over 30 entrants spread across the two Awards with almost 20 countries being involved in one or more entries. Given that 2013 was one of the low points in ship construction after the backlog of work that had built up in the run up to the economic crash of 2008 had finally cleared, the entry level was very encouraging and its international flavour even more so. At this time, newbuilding interest was mostly confined to passenger and offshore, but the entry list included many other ship types encompassing virtually the whole compendium of sectors.

The Energy Efficiency Award (previously Clean Ship Award) pays tribute to the ship with the greatest contribution towards energy efficiency in relation to its function or operation. Partnering with Nor-Shipping for this award was the International Maritime Organization (IMO), developer of the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) for new ships that came into effect this year.

The 2013 Energy Efficiency Award short list and winner

Viking Grace owned by Finland’s Viking Line, she was the first LNG-fuelled large passenger ship and met all known emission regulations. Her advanced hydrodynamics give a maximum speed of 23.4 knots with only 21 megawatts of propulsion power; the diesel-electric power plant, while minimising installed power reserves, provides optimal loading for the engines over the whole speed range.

CMA CGM Marco Polo belonging to the French operator CMA CGM was in 2013 the world’s largest containership. She is nearly 400 meters long and can load up to 16,020 TEUs. Her optimised hull form, twisted leading edge rudder, pre-swirl stator and electronic engine with exhaust gas bypass and turbochargers optimised for main engine low load resulted in an EEDI rating some 30% below the limit.

Stavangerfjord – Fjord Lines’ Stavangerfjord and its sister ship Bergensfjord were then the only ferries in the world designed and built to serve two quite different market segments – the day and night ferry markets. To optimise their service, the ferries were planned to operate as night ferries on the Bergen-Stavanger-Hirtshals route and as day ferries on the Hirtshals-Langesund route. They were the first international service passenger cruise ferries in the world to run on pure LNG engines.

Dina Star – ABB equipped this new PSV with a full onboard DC grid system, including all power, propulsion and automation systems. This results in highly efficient power distribution and electric propulsion for a wide range of vessels. The main advantage is that the ship’s generator engines no longer have to run at a fixed speed; the speed can be adjusted to optimise fuel consumption. Myklebusthaug’s Dina Star was the first example of a ship built with this system.

The winner selected by the Jury was the cruise ferry Stavangerfjord. Initially this vessel was intended to have a dual-fuel engine but during construction, the owner decided instead to opt for a pure gas Bergen engine made by Rolls-Royce. The ship also has a very efficient waste heat recovery system that generates all the energy required to cover the ship’s 1.2MW hotel demand. In a somewhat unfortunate development, delivery of the ship was delayed by almost two months as shipbuilder Bergen Group Fosen reportedly needed more time to test engines and other advanced technical equipment. While numerous other large ferries and cruise ships have been built with dual-fuel engines, Stavangerfjord and its sister remain the largest passenger vessels with pure gas engines.

Stavangerfjord, Bergen Group Fosen, Energy Efficiency Award winner 2013.

In 2016 the Norwegian Coastal Administration (NCA) initiated the first full-scale trial of e-navigation in Norwegian waters which involved Stavangerfjord digitally sharing its routing information with NCA via NAVTOR’s digital chart table NavStation. The project allowed both parties to transfer navigational information to each other rather than having to rely on voice communications.

In late 2017, the vessel underwent an extensive conversion and refit even though it was still a young vessel. The conversion resulted in a 20% cabin uplift new restaurants and 64 staterooms adding an extra touch of luxury. Bergensfjord underwent the same reconstruction the following year.

In common with many passenger vessels, the ships career was adversely affected by the COVID pandemic and she was temporarily laid up in 2020 before beginning restricted operations again in 2021.

The 2013 Next Generation Ship Award

TOTE 3,100teu container ship – at the time unnamed but since delivered as the first of the owner’s Marlin class ships, Isla Bella has the distinction of being the world’s first LNG-fuelled container ship. It is an all US design and construction being built by General Dynamics NASSCO but features DSME’s patented LNG fuel gas supply system and a MAN ME-GI dual-fuel, slow-speed engine.

Norled ZeroCat – The ZeroCat is an aluminium car ferry developed in association with Norled. Again, at the time of the award the vessel was unnamed but eventually delivered as Ampere. Buily by the Norwegian Shipyard Fjellstrand in Omastrand in collaboration with Siemens and Norled. It is the world’s first electric-powered car ferry and generates zero emissions and minimum sound. The ferry was delivered in October 2014 and commercial operations began in May 2015.

Edda Ferd – The PSV is the result of the owner’s MIndSET (Marine Industry Superior Environmental Thinking) program launched at Nor-Shipping 2011. It features a new propulsion concept including diesel generator sets with variable rpm developed together with Siemens’ BlueDrive Plus C concept. A hybrid solution with two battery packages further reduces fuel consumption and emissions. The companies behind the Edda Ferd include Astilleros Gondan, Siemens Norway, Skipsteknisk AS, Carl J. Amundsen Consulting Marine Engineers and Naval Architects, and Østensjø Rederi.

B.Delta – a new set of energy efficient optimised new generation standard bulker designs. Developed by Deltamarin, it was said they could provide 45% higher energy efficiency over conventional designs, comply with EEDI requirements for new ships and have the lowest daily fuel oil consumption (DFOC) given a 15% sea margin and design speed. B.Delta designs can be adjusted to owners’ requirements. Derivative designs include Cape-size bulk carriers, chemical carriers, product tankers and container designs. Within two years, the order book of the B.Delta series included more than 110 ships, mostly the B.Delta37/43 types but with some other sizes as well.

The winning choice of the jury was the TOTE 3100 container ship. As mentioned, the first of the class was named the Isla Bella and the second Perla del Caribe. When the vessel was ordered, it would have been a brave decision to opt for LNG as a fuel for a containership. The decision may have been a little easier since the ship was intended to operate full time within the North American ECAs although even there LNG bunkering infrastructure was almost non-existent.

TOTE 3100 TEU, General Dynamics NASSCO, Next Generation Ship Award winner 2013.

With the benefit of hindsight, given the number of LNG-fuelled box ships now in service or under construction, the words of Anthony Chiarello, President and CEO of TOTE who accepted the award can be seen as being quite prophetic. “To say we are both honoured and humbled by this prestigious internationally recognised award would be a significant understatement. The team at TOTE, along with our partners at NASSCO, have spent many months working on this project, which we believe will have a lasting impact on our industry and the future of ship design. While we are proud to be the first ever ship owner to construct LNG-powered container vessels, we are quite confident we will most certainly not be the last” he said.

After the initial success of the inaugural awards, Nor-Shipping changed tack slightly as regards the categorisations for the 2011 Exhibition. This is the second in a short series of articles looking at previous winners of the Awards and their influence on ship design generally.

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