Spanish wind propulsion firm Bound4blue has secured its first order for a wind assist sail for a newbuilding.

The booking is for a Pacific Islands mixed cargo and passenger ship that will operate between Tahiti and the remote Austral Islands in the South Pacific.

The vessel, to be called Na Pae e Hiro, will be built and delivered in 2026 with a 22-metre high patented suction sail from the Spanish cleantech business.

The ship will also be built with other energy-saving or emission-reduction considerations including the ability to run using biofuels and efuels when they are economically available in the region. The design also includes electric podded propulsion.

The contract for the vessel has been partly funded by the French government.

The Na Pae e Hiro, which will be able to take cruise passengers and up to 1,500 tonnes of cargo, is to be built in Vigo, Spain.

“This is a standout contract, marking the first time our technology has been chosen for a newbuild, after a very competitive international tender process,” Bound4blue co-founder and chief technology officer David Ferrer said.

“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 order comes among several announcements in recent weeks of wind assist systems being installed on vessels.

At the end of last year, Bound4blue revealed an order for a retrofit installation on the 39,202-dwt juice carrier Atlantic Orchard (built 2014) on charter to Louis Dreyfus Company and three units to go on a vessel used by Airbus to transport aircraft parts.

More recently, UK-based GT Green Technologies won UK government funding to install a test wingsail on a Carisbrooke Shipping vessel and Chinese Flettner rotor sail maker Dealfeng installed a unit on a small tanker set for delivery early this year.

And in November, a Marshall Islands vessel was launched to help other parts of the Pacific region decarbonise its seaborne trade.

In an earlier interview with TradeWinds, International Windship Association secretary general Gavin Allwright said the number of vessels with systems installed could double over this year to about 90.