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Monday, March 30, 2020 

Wärtsilä has signed a licence and cooperation agreement with Kuribayashi Steamship Co of Japan, covering future development, sales and servicing of gate rudders, with the agreement of the other patent holders for the technology.

The patent holders are Kuribayashi Steamship Co, Kamome Propeller, the National Institute of Maritime, Port and Aviation Technology (NIMPAT, Japan), Yamanaka Shipbuilding, and Prof Noriyuki Sasaki. As an authorised license holder and partner, Wärtsilä intends to integrate gate rudders within its propulsion product designs and focus on global markets outside Japan.

Instead of the traditional rudder arrangement in the propeller slipstream, the gate rudder is a twin arrangement around the propeller, allowing improved fuel efficiency and reduced emissions. The concept is applicable to all vessels - new and existing - equipped with conventional propellers. Wärtsilä’s says that integrating gate rudders into its newbuild vessel propulsion packages will allow further improvements to EEDI. The rudder technology is additionally said to improve manoeuvrability and course stability in both calm and rough sea conditions, while reducing noise and vibration.

This new collaborative partnership will accelerate the deployment of gate rudder systems across all vessel classes. By combining Wärtsilä’s propulsion and machinery integration expertise with the Japanese patent holders’ gate rudder technology and know-how, the technology will become accessible throughout the marine sector.

Lars Anderson, Director, Propulsion, Wärtsilä Marine, said: “At Wärtsilä we are doing our outmost to support our customers as they look for new technologies to reduce operating costs and improve the environmental sustainability of their operations. We see great potential in this gate rudder technology collaboration. Today’s agreement enables us to support the building of better and more sustainable vessels already today, and Kuribayashi Steamship and the Japanese patent holders are the ideal partners to help us realise this goal.”

Sadatomo Kuribayashi, Chairman of Kuribayashi Steamship Co said: “Today’s agreement with Wärtsilä is a major step forward in introducing gate rudder technology to the global market, and it helps the shipping industry’s initiatives for sustainable shipping and reduced operating costs. An innovative approach has been taken in creating this new solution for the maritime industry. The first evaluations of vessel performance on Japanese coastal vessels have shown a significant improvement in efficiency and manoeuvrability. We see Wärtsilä, with a strong global presence, and sharing the same commitment for developing cleaner, more sustainable, and efficient marine shipping, as being the ideal partner.”

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