DNV has awarded its first approval in principle for an inflatable wing sail system for cargo ships.

French company Michelin Group developed the automated, retractable wing sail and mobility (WISAMO) system and introduced it in 2021.

The sail system is designed so that it can retract to pass under bridges and access ports.  

The initial WISAMO tests were carried out on a yacht, but the system is now being installed on French-flagged ro-ro cargo vessel MN Pelican to test the system under commercial maritime navigation conditions.

DNV awarded the AiP based on the the society’s wind-assisted propulsion system technical standard (WAPS ST-0511).

Michelin initiative leader Gildas Quemeneur said the company was pleased to the receive the AiP.

“It is a very important step forward the further development of this innovative solution to contribute to maritime transport decarbonisation.

“We are now ready for the wing sail usage on MN Pelican ro-ro that will allow experimental tests in heavy maritime conditions.

“All returns of experience will now contribute to build the larger WISAMO wing sail.”

DNV Maritime senior principal engineer Hasso Hoffmeister said the martitime industry needs to look to enabling technologies that can boost vessel performance, reduce fuel use and enhance sustainability.

“This is why we are seeing a growing interest in WAPS for owners where the combination of compliance strategy, vessel type, and route offer potential benefits,” Mr Hoffmeister said.

“However, as with every novel technology, acceptance and uptake can only grow from a foundation of trust, supported by rigorous, trusted and evolving technical standards.

“We are very pleased to award Michelin this AiP and look forward to working with them as the project progresses.”

The 155-metre long, 8600-dwt MN Pelican is owned by France’s Compagnie Maritime Nantaise and classed by DNV.

The ship operates under charter to Brittany Ferries and sails between Poole, Great Britain and Bilbao, Spain.