Belgian shortsea shipping company Zulu Associates has contracted Conoship International to design the autonomous zero-emission shortsea vessel Zulu Mass.
As explained, the company will advance the design of the 200 TEU shortsea container vessel, which will be powered by zero-emission propulsion technology.
Zulu Mass will be fully electrical and powered by modular energy containers. Using batteries and/or hydrogen-based power systems. In addition to zero-emission electrical propulsion, the vessel will be equipped with auxiliary wind propulsion, and the feasibility of wave propulsion will be investigated.
The vessel will also be designed to be unmanned as a part of a Maritime Autonomy System, which will allow it to compete with fossil-fueled vessels.
The vessel concept, which received Approval in Principle (AiP) from Lloyds Register, is planned to be initially operational with Anglo Belgian Shipping Company on green corridors between the European Continent and the United Kingdom.
Belgium established a legal framework for unmanned vessel pilot projects in the North Sea in 2021. Now, a significant development has occurred as Belgium, the United Kingdom, and Denmark have come together to sign an agreement. This collaboration eliminates the need for separate permit applications, greatly simplifying the regulatory process, according to the company.