MV Yara Birkeland

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Name: Yara Birkeland
Owner: Yara International
Ordered: 2017
Builder: Marin Tekknik
Cost: $25m
In service: 2019 (planned)
General characteristics
Type: Autonomous container ship
Tonnage: 3,200 DWT
Length: Over 80 metres (260 ft)
Beam: 15 metres (49 ft)
Draught: 5 metres (16 ft)
Depth: 12 metres (39 ft)
Installed power: Batteries 7.0–9.0MWh
Propulsion: Electric motors driving 2 azimuth pods and 2 tunnel thrusters
  • 6 knots (11 km/h) service
  • 12 knots (22 km/h) maximum
Capacity: 120 TEU
Crew: 0
Notes: First autonomous commercial ship in the world.

Yara Birkeland is an autonomous container ship that is under construction and due to be launched in 2019. Following trials with a small crew on board, it will be operating autonomously by 2020. The Yara Birkeland project is planned to be the first fully autonomous logistics concept from industrial site operations, port operations and vessel operations in the world.


Yara Birkeland will be 80 metres (260 ft) long, with a beam of 14.8 metres (49 ft) and a depth of 12 metres (39 ft). It will have a draught of 6 metres (20 ft). It will be propelled by electric motors driving two azimuth pods and two tunnel thrusters. Batteries rated at 7.0-9.0 MWh will power the electric motors, giving it an energy optimal speed of 6 knots (11 km/h) and a maximum speed of 10 knots (19 km/h). It will have a capacity of 120 TEU.[1] The Norwegian Government gave a grant of NOK133.6m towards the construction of the ship, about a third of the total cost, in September 2017.[2]


Yara Birkeland is named after its owners Yara International and its founder, Norwegian scientist Kristian Birkeland.[3] Costing $25million,[4] It will be designed by Marin Teknikk, with navigation equipment by Kongsberg Maritime.[1] It will enter service in 2019,[2] initially operating as a manned ship. Yara Birkeland will sail on two routes, between Herøya and Brevik (~7 nautical miles (13 km)) and between Herøya and Larvik (~30 nautical miles (56 km)),[1] carrying chemicals and fertiliser. Remote operation will start sometime in 2019 and by 2020 it will be fully autonomous.[5]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Autonomous ship project, key facts about YARA Birkeland". Kongsberg Maritime. Retrieved 25 July 2017.
  2. ^ a b "Norway Provides Grant for Construction of Yara Birkeland". World Maritime News. Retrieved 29 September 2017.
  3. ^ "The first ever zero emission, autonomous ship". Yara International. 9 May 2017. Retrieved 25 July 2017.
  4. ^ Morris, David Z. (22 July 2017). "World's First Autonomous Ship to Launch in 2018". Fortune. Retrieved 25 July 2017.
  5. ^ Haridy, Rich (10 May 2017). "World's first all-electric autonomous container ship to set sail in 2018". Newatlas. Retrieved 25 July 2017.