Keel Laying Ceremony for the Pacific Island Supply Vessel on Geoje Island, South Korea

26 May 2023
Delegation of the Marshall Islands in Korea at Asia Shipbuilding Co, Ltd together with project director Mr. Raffael Held
Delegation of the Marshall Islands in Korea at Asia Shipbuilding Co, Ltd together with project director Mr. Raffael Held

On Friday, May 26th 2023, the keel laying ceremony for hull number ASB – 1245 of the Pacific Island Supply Vessel has been held at the premises of the Asia Shipbuilding Co,. Ltd., close to the city of Geoje on Geoje Island, South Korea. The consortium of Asia Shipbuilding Co., Ltd., and the naval design company Kostec Co., Ltd., has signed contract with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH in last year´s July to deliver an innovative sailing cargo ship for the needs of the Republic of the Marshall Islands.

GIZ has been implementing the IKI (International Climate Initiative) financed project that is commissioned by the Federal German Ministry of Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Production (BMUVB) jointly with the Marshall Islands Ministry for Transportation, Communication, and Information Technologies (MoTCIT) since 2017.

The overarching aim of the project is until today to support RMI´s ambitious target to cut down carbon dioxide emission in the domestic sea transport sector according to its National Determined Contribution (NDC) target of achieving transport-wide reduction of total domestic transport GHG emissions 27% below 2010 levels by 2030 and transitioning to a low carbon transport future and is committed to reducing GHG emissions from domestic shipping 40% below 2010 levels by 2030 and full decarbonization of the sector by 2050. Earlier this year, the RMI Cabinet has endorsed the Domestic Maritime Transport Roadmap, that lays out the path for net-zero sea transportation in the Marshall Islands until 2050.

Sailing Cargo Ship at shipyard in Korea
Sailing Cargo Ship at shipyard in Korea

The keel laying ceremony has been hosted by Asia Shipbuilding on a sunny day on Geoje. Various representatives from the maritime sector of the Republic of Korea have been present, by name: Management of Kostec Co., Ltd., Asia Shipbuilding Co., Ltd., Korea Register, International Registries Incorporated (IRI), Korea Marine Equipment Research Institute (KOMERI),

Representatives of the Geoje City Hall next to high level Government officials from the RMI Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Honorable Minister Kitlang Kabua and H.E. Ambassador Albon T. Ishoda jointly with Madame Ambassador.

Minister Kabua highlighted in her keynote remarks that “the keeling would be the start of the paradigm shift from conventional driven, solely engine propelled ships to a new generation of vessels for our islands in the larger Pacific Region.”, furthermore, she made clear: “We need to move away from fossil fuels, the vessel which´ keel is laid today in this festive ceremony symbolizes the larger change we are fighting for, a transition from technologies that are outdated and not adequate anymore in times where we face daily challenges with rising sea levels, the acidification of our oceans leading to coral bleaching, taking away our resources that we all need to survive.”

Project Director Mr. Held made clear that “the combination of various technologies for such size and type vessel is unique.” The 48 m Sailing Cargo Vessels has been developed jointly with the Research Institute University of Applied Sciences Emden-Leer. In a joint effort, a new prototype-like vessel has been elaborated, including a modern and efficient sailing rig, PV units for the generation of electricity onboard and training areas for generations of future Marshallese Seaman.

As Project Manager of Kostec Co., Ltd., Mr. Chung, made clear in his remarks “the windmilling technology via recuperation during sailing operation has not yet been built in this context and will certainly raise lots of interest within future buyers when proven successful”. He added, that “the ship could basically be operated emission free during favorable conditions”.

After the keel laying ceremony, the shipyard and all relevant project partners will continue with the production of the vessel until the next milestone, the launching in early October 2023.

The project is part of the International Climate Initiative (IKI) funded project on Transitioning to Low Carbon Sea Transport implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), Republic of the Marshall Islands’s Ministry for Transportation, Communication and Information Technology and various partners – nationally and internationally. The project supports in delivering RMI’s Nationally Determined Contributions under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Link to Further Materials

Contact Person
Raffael Held

Key buzzwords
Sustainable Maritime Transport, Pacific, Marshall Islands