This $25 Million Crewless and Eco-friendly Ship is Launching in 2018

Yara Birkeland, a ship which will run autonomously without the requirement of a support crew and will generate zero emissions, has gone into production and will see the light of the day in 2018 and will cost $25 million.

Yara Birkeland

The ship is the result of a joint venture between two Norwegian companies — Yara International and Kongsberg Defence Systems.

The ship is being made in Norway and according to a report in the VentureBeat, it will initially deliver fertilizer along a 37-mile route in the country.

“As a leading global fertilizer company with a mission to feed the world and protect the planet, investing in this zero emission vessel to transport our crop nutrition solutions fits our strategy well. We are proud to work with Kongsberg to realize the world’s first autonomous, all-electric vessel to enter commercial operation,” says Svein Tore Holsether, President and CEO of Yara.

The world’s fully electrical container ship will first go into operation in 2018 as a manned vessel. The control will then be changed to remote operation in 2019 and the ship will be able to ply by itself come 2020.

Although the ship has a capacity for only 100 to 150 shipping containers and is going to cost three to four times the cost of a standard ship of the same size, it’ll greatly reduce the cost of crew and fuel.


“By moving container transport from land to sea, Yara Birkeland is the start of a major contribution to fulfilling national and international environmental impact goals. The new concept is also a giant step forward towards increased seaborne transportation in general,” says Geir Håøy, President and CEO of Kongsberg.

The ship will not only be the first of its kind automated ship which doesn’t require a crew to run it but will also contribute to the environmental sustainability.

“Yara Birkeland will set the benchmark for the application of innovative maritime technology for more efficient and environmentally friendly shipping,” says Håøy.

Self-driving cars are fast becoming a reality and the same application might also find success in other transportation systems worldwide.

Last updated on 03 February, 2022

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