MS Tûranor Planet Solar berths in Malta
Today, Minister for Resources and Rural Affairs George Pullicino paid a visit to the MS Tûranor Planet Solar vessel and its five-man crew. The ship is currently berthed at St Angelo's Wharf in Birgu.
The vessel is the largest solar-powered ship in the world and the first to circumnagivagite the globe using nothing but sunlight to fuel it. After leaving Monaco on September 27, 2010, it travelled at an average speed of 5 knots (9 kilometres per hour) across the world, along the equatorial line (east to west), crossing three major oceans and 11 seas before finally returning to Monaco on May 4 of this year.
The ship is the brainchild of Swiss electrical engineer Raphael Domjan and was built over a two-year period at Kiel shipyards in Germany. Its extendable wings give it a total of 527 square metres of photovoltaic surface. According to the ship's captain, Eric Dumont, here in Malta, Tûranor is "generating much more energy than the batteries need, so we have to switch the panels off sometimes".