Illustration courtesy Norsepower

Socatra MR Tanker to be Fitted with Rotor Sails

Mike Schuler
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January 25, 2023

French shipowner turns to auxiliary wind propulsion to help decarbonize.

French tanker company Socatra has entered into a contract with Norsepower to retrofit one of its medium range tankers with two rotor sails.

The two 35-meter-tall Norsepower Rotor Sails will be installed on the 2022-built, 50,000 dwt MT Alcyone, which is on charter to TotalEnergies.

Installation will take place in Q4 2023 or Q1 2024 at Norsepower’s new production hub in China.

Norsepower Rotor Sails are a modern version of a Flettner Rotor, a type of spinning cylinder that uses the Magnus effect to harness wind power to help propel a ship and enhance fuel savings.

Norsepower estimates that by using the rotor sails the Alcyone will be able to reduce fuel consumption and carbon emissions by about 8% while operating between South Korea and French Polynesia, with the potential for additional savings using voyage optimization.

“It is fantastic to see that the Norsepower Rotor SailTM has been embraced by a leading company like Socatra,” said Tuomas Riski, CEO of Norsepower.

Norsepower installed its first rotor sails on a LR2 tanker previously named Maersk Pelican in August 2018. Independent measurements conducted by Lloyd’s Register confirmed fuel savings of 8.2% during the first year of operation.

“The Norsepower Rotor SailTM is particularly well-suited to tankers, with a strong track record of proven performance. This is why we are confident that we can achieve at least 8% fuel consumption saving, based on existing data and projections, ensuring Socatra lead the way for more planet-positive operations for others in the oil industry,” Riski added.

“As the oil industry is moving towards a low-carbon future, it is everyone’s responsibility to put forward tangible and economically viable solutions. We are pleased to be working with Norsepower to accelerate this transition and minimise our environmental footprint,” said Socatra CEO Laurent Bozzoni. “The Norsepower Rotor SailTM is widely recognised as a proven solution for sea-going vessels, and we believe that our MR tanker Alcyone will benefit from significant efficiency gains and help us reduce our CO2 emissions”

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