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Combining sail and crane in one machine

A ship’s crane which can double up as a sail when not being used for lifting is being developed by Kristiansand-based Nekkar. That will provide additional propulsion for the vessel and reduce fuel consumption.

The company’s core business covers aquaculture, renewables and maritime lifting systems, where mechatronics (mechanics, electronics and computing) and digitalisation are applied to develop disruptive technologies which can make emerging industries even more sustainable, productive and profitable.

Adding a sail mode was conceived as a way of exploiting a crane when not in use. The starting point was to reduce parking space so that the ship’s deck could be used for other purposes, while it would also be interesting if the solution could reduce fuel consumption and thereby greenhouse emissions.

Named the Vector, its sail function satisfies all these design parameters and gives the crane completely new areas of application which mean that it can also be used when the vessel is in motion.


Configuring the actual crane structure like a sail which can weathervane (rotate) with the wind will reduce fuel consumption and provide positive thrust in the direction of travel.

Combining crane and sail will also allows the ship to use equipment installed to reduce fuel consumption without compromising on its speed. The Vector is autonomous and requires no crew involvement while under way.

The advantage for the user is that this solution makes it possible to save large amounts of fuel by providing the vessel with a sailing mode, which thereby reduces engine load while maintaining the same speed as before.

Combining sail and crane in a single unit offers big savings in costs and materials, such as steel and components, compared with producing the two units separately. Innovative and sustainable solutions like this will make a ship more attractive to the market.

Patent sought
The Vector sail crane has a big market because it can be sold in several segments, such as service operation vessels (SOVs) for offshore wind, construction support ships – with 3D compensation – or as a pure sail crane in the general and bulk cargo sector.

Nekkar has a broad range of contacts with naval architects and shipowners, and is therefore very well equipped to develop the Vector solution into a leading product in this segment.

A patent application has been made, and the Vector has so far be shown to a limited set of designers and owners. These have expressed great interest and say that they envisage new opportunities for vessels which can combine sail and crane in one and the same machine. That applies to both newbuildings and existing ships.








Turnover in 2022 (or latest available figures):

NOK 388 million

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Ole Falk Hansen

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+47 988 14 184