Oceanbird is a Cargo Ship With Massive Retractable Sails

Though you might not know it, many of the items you buy and take for granted cross the oceans on huge cargo ships. Those ships are notoriously dirty and pollutive, using massive amounts of oil, and leaving trails of pollution in their wake.

Even though most industries have seen shifts towards cleaner transport, cargo vessels have been very slow to change. That may be starting to shift, with the introduction of the Oceanbird, a cargo ship with five massive, 80-meter blade-like sails that extend and retract out of the vessel.

When it sails for the first time in 2023, it will be the world’s biggest sailing vessel, able to carry over 7,000 cars. The 230-foot sails are able to retract in order for the huge ship to slip under bridges, or if it encounters rough seas.

Created by Swedish consortium SSPA, the Oceanbird is a hugely innovative undertaking, using an ancient technology in new ways to dramatically reduce pollution.

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An illustration shows a wind-powered car and truck carrier ship that a Swedish consortium that includes Wallenius Marine is developing and aiming to launch late 2024 in this handout image obtained by Reuters September 10, 2020. Wallenius Marine/via REUTERS