bound4blue eSAIL chosen for landmark newbuild in French Polynesia


bound4blue has been selected to install a 22-metre-high eSAIL® onboard the newbuild mixed cargo vessel NA PAE E HIRO, helping shipowner SNA TUHA’A PAE (SNA) reduce energy consumption by 10%. Launching in 2026, the trailblazing ship will mix green technology with an ambition to accelerate development of the remote Austral Islands, carrying both vital supplies and up to 200 tourists on its voyages from Tahiti to the South Pacific archipelago.

The contract marks the first time bound4blue’s proven solution has been selected for a newbuild vessel of this type. The eSAIL®, designed for both retrofits and newbuilds, is a ‘suction sail’. It works by harnessing wind power to propel vessels, employing an autonomous vertical sail with suction technology, dragging air over a think aerodynamic profile. This process generates seven times more lift than a conventional airplane wing, resulting in exceptional propulsive efficiency, greatly reducing the load on main engines – saving fuel and cutting emissions.

At the end of 2023, bound4blue announced commercial agreements with LDC for the installation of four 26-metre-high eSAILs® on the Louis Dreyfus Company chartered vessel MV Atlantic Orchard and three 22-metre-high units on the Ville de Bordeaux, used by Airbus to transport aircraft subassemblies. These new contracts showcase the system’s flexibility, delivering energy efficiency and cost savings for a broad range of vessels, regardless of their size and age.

David Ferrer, co-founder and CTO of bound4blue, comments: “This is stand-out contract for bound4blue, marking the first time our technology has been chosen for a newbuild, after a very competitive international tender process. We believe this demonstrates the growing appreciation of our unique offer, and expertise, within the global marketplace. The eSAIL® effectively provides a modern twist to the ancient tradition of harnessing the trade winds of the Southern Pacific. It allows this forward-thinking owner to achieve strong environmental and commercial benefits, taking advantage of an abundant renewable energy source to support a move away from fossil fuels.”

The 89-metre-long newbuild is now set for construction at Armon Shipyard in Vigo, Spain, with naval architecture delivered by COTENAVAL (Spain) and consultancy by ECO (France). Financial support has been awarded through the French Government’s Appel à Manifestation d’intérêt initiative, with the project meeting criteria of local fleet renewal, opening the Australes, delivering cruise business, supporting local employment, and sustainability goals.

The design process of this ship, done by COTENAVAL, has been centered around presenting it with state-of-the-art systems and an optimized design aimed at reducing overall energy consumption, emissions, and maintenance costs. Additionally, flexibility and quick loading/unloading operations have been key focal points for COTENAVAL’s design. The comfort and modern appearance of the accommodation areas, providing ample space for leisure, and maintaining natural light within the ship’s areas, have always been crucial aspects of this design.

In addition to the lightweight, easy to maintain eSAIL®, NA PAE E HIRO will be fitted with engines capable of running on biofuel or e-fuel, as soon as it becomes commercially available in the region. It also offers efficiency in terms of waste treatment, electric POD propulsion and autonomy in fresh water supply. Cargo capacity is 1,500 tonnes, almost four times more than its predecessor, the TUHAA PAE IV, translating to much reduced energy consumption and emissions per cargo tonne.

“The development of these beautiful islands, the sustainability of local economic activity, and the overall welfare of the population depends upon a strong maritime transport link,” comments Boris Piel, Technical Director, SNA. “A new generation of vessel unlocks new possibilities for the communities here, and the NA HIRO E PAE E has been designed to maximise that potential.

“Sustainability and environmental stewardship were at the top of our agenda. bound4blue’s unique eSAIL® was a market proven, mechanically robust choice. It is simple, stable, low maintenance and provides clear environmental benefits, working in tandem with the other propulsion systems to optimize power. The fact that it helps drive down OPEX provides a strong commercial argument. We can’t wait to sail in 2026.”