By James T. McKenna | January 25, 2008
Will pilots flying offshore support missions to the world’s oil and gas rigs face a new airborne hazard? Perhaps, if the shipping industry returns to wind power. The newly cargo ship MS Beluga SkySails is on its maiden voyage, from Bremen, Germany, to Venezuela, powered in part by a single sail. The hitch on the 1,722 sq ft (160 sq m) sail is that it flies roughly 300-1,000 ft (100-300 m) above the 433-ft-long (132 m) ship at the end of a cable. Shippers are looking for a cheaper “fuel” source than pricey oil, according to The Wall Street Journal. The Beluga SkySails isn’t alone. The 288-ft-long (88 m) MS Michael A. has been retrofitted with the SkySails System, produced by SkySails of Hamburg, Germany.