The Canopée is a dual-powered open top RoRo vessel with wind-assisted ship propulsion made by Neptune Shipyards. The jury particularly praised Hardinxveld-Giessendam-based Neptune Shipyards for the way in which the yard managed to reconcile the many, often conflicting requirements.

The Ship of the Year prize is about the extent to which design, technology, safety, construction and economic significance come together in one innovative vessel.

In addition to the Canopée, there were two more nominees:

  • The electric tug Sparky, built and designed by Damen Shipyards
  • The E-pusher Type M, built and designed by Padmos

Also read: KNVTS nominates Sparky, Canopée and E-Pusher 1 for Ship of the Year Award


With MS Canopée, Neptune Marine has delivered a worthy candidate for the Ship of the Year Award. The Canopée is an open top RoRo vessel intended to transport parts and fuel for Ariane rockets from France to French Guyana. The ship has a length over all of 121 metres, a width of 22 metres, a design draught of 4.3 metres and a design speed of 16.5 knots.

The ship replaces two vessels of 115 x 20 metres that now perform the same tasks and, partly because of this, has to meet a multitude of sometimes conflicting requirements, leading to a complex design challenge. Because the ship must sail up a river in French Guyana, local draught can only be 3.8 metres.

At the same time, the light, voluminous cargo to be transported requires a large deck area within limited main dimensions. This leads to a voluminous, wide, lowdraught ship. At the same time, the cargo requires low accelerations while the sailing schedule demands a high speed.

To achieve the intended speed efficiently, a unique hull shape has been developed. In addition, the Canopée features wind-assisted propulsion by four Oceanwings wing sails, that should lead to a reduction in fuel consumption of about eighteen per cent during transit, based on a sailing schedule of one round trip per month.

The vessel is a twin-propeller ship with a pram-shaped aftbody. Instead of traditional shaft lines with brackets, the ship has twin gondolas that are placed asymmetrically and thereby improve the flow, provide course stability during sailing, increase displacement, and provide space for the drive train, which benefits the length of the lower hold.

The gondolas are pointed inwards towards the centreline. This means that both complete drive trains are placed at an angle to the centreline. The bulbous bow is integrated in the hull to create both a reduction of resistance and a maximisation of volume with in the length of the ship. The rudders are designed to permanently generate a sideforce to prevent drift when using the Oceanwings.

To keep accelerations within acceptable limits, the ship features an anti-roll tank and a lay-out that substantially raises the vertical centre of gravity. The ship has two holds in which every container has a specific, unique position. The lower hold can be sealed with a watertight hydraulic hatch and the upper hold is an open top hold that is accessible from above and via a RoRo ramp. Cargo is loaded and unloaded using lorries and positioned in the hold using a gantry crane.

All in all, Neptune Marine has delivered a unique, innovative ship for which it was impossible to rely on standard solutions for nearly all design aspects. This makes the ship the figurehead of the innovative strength of the Dutch maritime sector.

The ship was designed and built for Ariane Group and is operated by France’s Alizés, a joint venture between Jifmar Offshore Services and Zéphyr & Borée. The contract for construction was awarded to Neptune in October 2020 and the ship has been in service since August.

Winner Ship of the Year, Canopée – Neptune Shipyards (picture by SWZ|Maritime/G.J. de Boer).

Also read: Superyacht Viva lands Feadship KNVTS Ship of the Year Award

Maritime Awards Gala

Every year during the Maritime Awards Gala, over 900 maritime professionals meet to celebrate the innovative strength of the Dutch maritime sector together with the press, politicians and the nominees for the five maritime awards. In addition to the Ship of the Year Award, the Maritime Security Award, Maritime Talent Award, Maritime Achievement Award and Maritime Innovation Award are presented. This year, the Gala took place on 6 November at Ahoy Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

Picture (top) by Flying Focus.