The keel of an innovative cargo sailing ship for the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) has been laid at Asia Shipbuilding Co Ltd in Geoje, South Korea. The vessel will not only provide essential supplies to the island community, but also create a platform for research and training, from early 2024.
The vessel’s design is a result of a contract between Asia Shipbuilding, Kostec Co Ltd, a marine design firm, and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH. Signed in July 2022, the project will deliver the 48m-long ‘Sailing Cargo Vessel’, developed jointly with the Research Institute University of Applied Sciences Emden-Leer.
The ship will have a sailing rig, photovoltaic units to generate electricity on board, and spaces to train future Marshallese seafarers. It will support the island nation’s aim of reducing total domestic carbon dioxide emissions in 2030 by 27% compared with 2010 levels. The targets for domestic shipping are even more ambitious – 40% by 2030 compared with 2010, and full decarbonisation of the sector by 2050. Early this year, the Marshall Islands’ Cabinet ratified plans for net-zero sea transport by 2050.
The keel-laying ceremony, hosted by the shipbuilder, was attended by a range of dignitaries. They included representatives from Asia Shipbuilding, Kostec, Korea Register, International Registries Incorporated, Korea Marine Equipment Research Institute, and officials from Geoje City Hall and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Honorable Minister Kitlang Kabua, and His Excellency Ambassador Albon T. Ishoda and Madame Ambassador.
GIZ has been extending the International Climate Initiative-financed programme commissioned by the Federal German Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection jointly with the Marshall Islands’ Ministry for Transportation, Communication, and Information Technologies since 2017.
Keel laid for Marshall Islands supply ship