NORDEN Tanker Turned Off Engine and Sailed by Wind and Sea Current

A product tanker weighing 47,400 tons sailed a distance of 280nm having its engine shut off using only wind and sea currents to navigate through the sea. The tanker made it to the discharge port in time. but by stopping the main engine for 3-4 days, savings of 27 tons of fuel were made. So it appears that sometime traditional methods of navigation at sea may be more economic/fuel efficient compared to proposed technological improvements. Of course this cannot happen everyday but such an incident is worth mentioning especially during these times were everyone seems to be in panic of cutting costs and saving more fuel.

2013.07.24 - NORDEN Tanker Turned Off Engine and Sailed by Wind and Sea Current

Captain Rohit Minocha of product tanker, Nord Integrity, consulted operator Norient Product Pool’s shore office to request that the vessel’s engines be stopped on a ballast voyage from São Sebastião in Brazil to Skikda in Algeria. After bunkering in Las Palmas in Gran Canaria, the 47,400 tons tanker had so much time to spare that it only relied on wind and sea current to propel it the final 280nm over three to four days. This action saved about 27t of fuel, equivalent to around US$17 000 at current fuel prices.

Another thing worth mentioning is that the tanker’s voyage, fueled by wind and current alone, complied with all safety regulations, and the vessel reached the loading destination just in time and ready to load condensate, a light oil, for late discharge in Rotterdam in the Netherlands.

Head of Norient Product Pool’s operations, Jens Malund Jensen, stated that the captain of the ship, Captain Rohit Minocha,  is capable of thinking out of the box and that not everyone gets the idea to use nature’s own forces like that. Besides, the merchant fleet of vessels switched to engine power several decades ago and so it requires innovative thinking to consider using wind and current as the only driving power. In addition, the captain has understood to use the local wind and current information optimally.

Nevertheless, Mr. Jens Malund Jensen emphasized that many factors must fall in place for that kind of sailing to be possible:

  • There must be sufficient time to reach the loading port which usually is rare thing to happen.
  • The wind and current must have the right direction.
  • There must be enough room in the area to drift, as safety can naturally never be compromised.
  • A good cooperation between the vessel and the operations department.

Of course in order to avoid any misunderstandings it should be stated that a vessel carrying cargo would never sail by wind and current alone.

Source: NORDEN News Magazine Spring 2013 (page 13)

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