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Peace Boat drives forward its plans for Ecoship fleet

Thu 03 Aug 2017 by Rebecca Moore

Peace Boat drives forward its plans for Ecoship fleet
Peace Boat plans to build five more cruise ships based on its Ecoship prototype (pictured)

Peace Boat’s plans do not stop at its Ecoship prototye: it has plans for more newbuildings and to retrofit its current cruise ship with more energy-efficient technology, its director Yoshioka Tatsuya told Rebecca Moore

Japanese NGO Peace Boat has moved forward with both its Ecoship newbuild prototype and plans for the rest of its fleet.

Japan’s cruise association announced at the start of Nor-Shipping in June this year that Peace Boat had signed a letter of intent with Arctech Helsinki Shipyard to construct Ecoship, which it is claimed will be the world’s most sustainable cruise ship.

Peace Boat director and founder Yoshioka Tatsuya told Passenger Ship Technology in an exclusive interview the reasons behind choosing the Finnish shipbuilding company: it was an experienced shipyard within passenger shipping, with previous customers including Royal Caribbean International and Carnival, he said.

Explaining the yard’s suitability further, he said that because the 55,000 gt ship is not a “megaship”, the cruise ship operator had the flexibility to consider yards other than the biggest shipbuilders in Europe. Furthermore, it appealed to Mr Tatsuya that Arctech has an indoor dock, which he said was “very good for efficiency”.

In addition, he said, “I really admire the maritime industry efforts in Scandinavia as they are working so hard to progress green technologies and it is such an eco-friendly society. The culture of Scandinavian society is very suitable for Ecoship.”

He commented “Cruise ship building is booming, so not many shipyards can afford to spend enough time on complicated ships and more conventional passenger ships can be seen as more profitable.”

Despite this challenge, competition to build the ship was intense, Mr Tatsuya said. “We had shipyards approaching us with proposals,” with a total of 10 in the tendering process of which six were serious contenders. He expects that steel will be cut on Ecoship in Q3 this year and that it will be delivered in Q2 2020.

But Peace Boat’s plans do not stop with Ecoship – also in the pipeline are plans to build more ships and retrofit its current cruise vessel. Indeed, its target is ambitious – to build five more ships based on the Ecoship prototype within five years.

Mr Tatsuya said “It depends on the market, but we think more ships are necessary and that is our target. One cruise ship is not enough due to the growth in the Asian market and the cruise market in general.” Indeed, Peace Boat was originally intended for the Japanese market, but Singapore, China, South Korea and Malaysia are all countries that are showing strong growth for the cruise ship operator.

Peace Boat’s ambitious expansion plan means that, while it is keen to build a long-term relationship with Arctech, the sheer number of ships that it wants to build means that it may have to look at other yards as well.

Peace Boat is hoping to expand on new technologies with its future vessels even more than it is doing with Ecoship: Ecoship will have LNG-diesel dual-fuel propulsion, but Mr Tatsuya said the company hoped to go a step further and use hydrogen fuel cell technology and “more efficient” batteries to achieve more energy efficiency and renewable propulsion on the future vessels.

However, Mr Tatsuya said that Ecoship would never be finished: the company will continue to update its technology to “future-proof” it. Similar to its plans for future vessels, Peace Boat is keen to examine using hydrogen fuel cell propulsion on this first ship alongside the LNG main fuel, once it is available.

Another plan is to boost the use of wind power and the current concept features 10 wind turbines to harness wind energy to reduce fuel requirements, depending on operating conditions. Mr Tatsuya said that wind power “is a very important source of energy and there is lots of scope for improving the technology.” Plans include routeing the ship to benefit from windy regions.

Mr Satsuya also unveiled plans for Ecoship to use technology to allow passengers to see how much energy they were consuming and creating. He said the plan was to develop tablet computers to be used by each customer to measure how much energy they were using. However, suitable software and a manufacturer have not been chosen yet.

Mr Satsuya is also keen to be as energy efficient as possible on the hotel side and to that extent Ecoship will incorporate closed-loop waste and water management systems in order to reach a zero-discharge target.

He is keen to include recycled drinking water within this system, but admitted “sometimes passengers do not like the idea of recycled water – we need to talk to passengers about reducing water consumption.”

Attention is also focused on Peace Boat’s current cruise ship. Since the NGO began in 1983 it has used a number of chartered cruise ships and currently operates the chartered 35,265 gt Ocean Dream from Spain’s Pullmantur Cruises, part of Royal Caribbean Cruises. This 1981-built vessel began life as Carnival Cruise Line’s Tropicale. Peace Boat operates three global voyages of 80-100 days a year, carrying about 1,000 passengers on each voyage.

Mr Tatsuya said that Peace Boat was looking at retrofitting its current cruise ship within three years of building Ecoship. The current vessel has mechanical propulsion, but the company is considering converting to electric propulsion. It is also considering adding solar panels and wind propulsion and he expressed interest in the work of Finland’s Norsepower, although no contracts have been signed. Norsepower’s auxiliary wind propulsion Rotor Sail solution has been used on board LNG dual-fuelled Viking Line’s Viking Grace.

The Norsepower Rotor Sail solution is a modernised version of the Flettner rotor; a spinning cylinder that uses the Magnus effect to harness wind power to propel a ship. The solution is fully automated and senses whenever the wind is strong enough to deliver fuel savings, at which point the rotors start automatically – optimising crew time and resource.

• Peace Boat describes itself as “a Japan-based international non-governmental and non-profit organisation that works to promote peace, human rights, equal and sustainable development and respect for the environment. It carries out its main activities through a chartered passenger ship that travels the world on peace voyages.” For more details visit

Pull out Quote:

“We think five more ships are necessary and that is our target. One cruise ship is not enough due to the growth in the Asian market and the cruise market in general” Mr Tatsuya (Peace Boat)

Box outs for infographics

Ecoship: technology overview

Radical energy efficiency

20% cut of propulsion energy (compared to its current ship)

Integrated heat recovery and reuse system

Fuel adaptability and future readiness


Solar and wind energy

10 retractable wind turbines

10 retractable photovoltaic sails

6,000 m2 / 750 kW of solar power generation


Nature-inspired technology


Aerodynamic topsides and a hydrodynamic hull inspired by the whale

Air bubble hull lubrication system

Natural ventilation


Onboard ecosystems

Plant kingdom and vertical farming

Closed-loop water system

Zero discharge / zero waste operation


Snapshot CV Yoshioka Tatsuya (Peace Boat)

Mr Tatsuya founded Peace Boat in 1983 as a non-governmental organisation, working for international friendship on an innovative social business model. Under his leadership, Peace Boat has grown into Japan’s largest cruising organisation. Mr Tatsuya has also been active internationally in the fields of education, peace and sustainability. He has addressed United Nations bodies on issues including a Culture of Peace and was a Nobel Peace Prize Nominee in 2008.





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