Navy Charters Kite-Powered Cargo Ship
For the first time, the U.S. Navy's Military Sealift Command has chartered a kite-assisted, fuel-saving cargo ship to carry military equipment.MV Beluga SkySails departed , , Oct. 5 after the first of three European port calls to load U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force cargo before the ship's month-long voyage to the . The 400-ft. Beluga SkySails is the world's first cargo ship to use a sky sail - a giant, computer-controlled kite that can rise 100 yards into the air and uses wind power to help propel the ship during long ocean transits. Though MSC frequently charters commercial ships to meet mission requirements, this is the first time the command has chartered such a ship.
The ship operating company estimates that the sky sail can reduce fuel costs by 20 to 30 percent, or roughly $1,600 per day.Though Beluga SkySails' wind power was not a factor in awarding the contract, the ship operating company was likely "able to capitalize on fuel savings to make its offer more competitive," said MSC contracting officer Kenneth Allen.