Merchant shipping

Read the forum code of contact

Profile picture for user Neptune

Member for

15 years 1 month

Posts: 627

It looks as if they have already done that study and hence I'd say yes.
I guess the main problems they had were:
Draft of the vessel, normally those container vessels have a lower freeboard compared to the draft (you can see on page 15 of the first pdf you've shown). Indeed this ship will be very lightly laden in this condition compared to its normal loads. So, considering this, I guess stability will be an issue too, as weight is pretty high up, normally that hull is entirely filled with containers before they start loading on top.

They'd also have to divide stresses. Container vessels have their frames and structure fully adapted to TEU and FEU's, so they'll have to adapt the structure or at least put the extra structures on those cornerpoints.

The transverse tunnel would be a near necessity as on such ships the engine, directly connected to the shaft and propellor, is pretty much in the way of a stern well or stern tunnel. It certainly is large enough and the draft wouldn't be too much of a problem either as it would take several thousands of tonnes to make this ship rise or sink a meter. So the hatch shouldn't be a problem. Although I wouldn't be too happy with a hatch in my freeboard (all those RoRo vessel accidents were actually caused by their hatches...)
But all in all it would certainly be feasable. Of course, there are some objections, I guess the same objections as there would be to turn these ships into aircraft carriers.... The hull isn't built for combat situations, if there's an ambush coming from somewhere, this ship is a likely target and less likely to survive the attack than normal combat ships. It does however fit their needs, rapid to build/convert, cheap and large enough to house a LOT of things!

Profile picture for user Neptune

Member for

15 years 1 month

Posts: 627

It looks as if they have already done that study and hence I'd say yes.
I guess the main problems they had were:
Draft of the vessel, normally those container vessels have a lower freeboard compared to the draft (you can see on page 15 of the first pdf you've shown). Indeed this ship will be very lightly laden in this condition compared to its normal loads. So, considering this, I guess stability will be an issue too, as weight is pretty high up, normally that hull is entirely filled with containers before they start loading on top.

They'd also have to divide stresses. Container vessels have their frames and structure fully adapted to TEU and FEU's, so they'll have to adapt the structure or at least put the extra structures on those cornerpoints.

The transverse tunnel would be a near necessity as on such ships the engine, directly connected to the shaft and propellor, is pretty much in the way of a stern well or stern tunnel. It certainly is large enough and the draft wouldn't be too much of a problem either as it would take several thousands of tonnes to make this ship rise or sink a meter. So the hatch shouldn't be a problem. Although I wouldn't be too happy with a hatch in my freeboard (all those RoRo vessel accidents were actually caused by their hatches...)
But all in all it would certainly be feasable. Of course, there are some objections, I guess the same objections as there would be to turn these ships into aircraft carriers.... The hull isn't built for combat situations, if there's an ambush coming from somewhere, this ship is a likely target and less likely to survive the attack than normal combat ships. It does however fit their needs, rapid to build/convert, cheap and large enough to house a LOT of things!

The Seabee concept also has something. I first heard of such a concept in the book "Red Storm Rising" from Tom Clancy, in which the Russians would have used a Lykes Lines SeaBee to transport their LCAC's to the Iceland coast. Always thought it was a cool idea, never heard that such things were really possible or realistic enough to be considered!

Member for

14 years 3 months

Posts: 338

Neptune,

I found the full report later which says Maersk engineers have looked at it and said it can be done and on Page 55/56 gives the full specs.

http://www.onr.navy.mil/nrac/docs/2005_rpt_sea_basing.pdf

It also looks at the Seabee concept and suggests and idea might involve a combination of both Seabee type lift and more than one transverse tunnel to avoid single point failiure and allow maximum flexibility with sea conditions.

It also talks about the Intermediate Transfer Platform (bloody big semi submersible Flo-Flo) which I posted about earlier

I had heard of the idea of using Seabee ships to carry hovercraft before but gotto admit it was still a good plot line.

Intrestingly, whilst doing a search for modified S-class container ships, I got quite a few hits on sites where the possibility of China doing the same thing was discussed - they were talking about the Chinese merchant service much in the same way the Soviet merchant service was talked about 15-20 years ago.

Member for

14 years 7 months

Posts: 847

In some respects Flo-Flo barge carriers could make excellent and cheap auxilliary LPD's, although there aren't many around as concepts like LASH and BACAT (I know some of these systems are not actually flo-flo, but they could still make useful auxilliary assault vessels) aren't popular for trans-oceanic transport, it's probably no coincidence that the greatest advocates of the barge carrier concept was the USSR.
The good thing about container vessels is that their hull structural rigidity comes from relatively small components, to maximise cargo hold volume, hatch cover openings etc. they rely on longitudinal box girders for hull strengh, cutting a hole in the hull for a flo-flo hatch would be no different to the massive hatch openings in terms of hull strengh. That said, the sort of conversion advocated would be horrifically expensive and it'd probably be cheaper to build a new build purpose designed vessel. In Maersk the MSC conversion of the "L" class container vessels for the US DoD was something of a standing joke as the costs of conversion were something like four times the cost of a brand new container vessel of similar size.

Member for

14 years 3 months

Posts: 338

I've had this 1983 (first UK publication) book for a long time

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Ships-Shipping-Tomorrow-Jurgen-Lusch/dp/0870332996/ref=sr_11_1/202-4659133-2806265?ie=UTF8

makes an intresting read though they thought 5,000 containers in one go was high.... :)

Linking into my previous post about transverse tunnels, it has a diagram of a possible LASH barge carrier that uses a transverse tunnel rather than over the stern for the lifting of barges, also has an 'over the bow' crane arrangement but i'd have thought that makes a very vital bit of gear very vulnerable.

Member for

14 years 7 months

Posts: 847

Right up to the mid-90's 4000TEU was big, then things just took off. Between the mid 70's to the mid 90's container ships held steady at about 3000-4000TEU, and when USL made those big 4,500TEU boats for their round the world service in the mid 80's they were a flop as they were too slow and they couldn't afford enough hulls (in the end Sealand actually shrank them by removing a mid body section). One reason was the Panamax issue, until the early 90's Panamax was considered essential by most box boat owners (even though most of them never even went through the canal) then the efficiency advantages of post-panamax and heavy investment by terminals in longer reach cranes led to a huge expansion of TEU capacity on ships, 5000 to 6000 and more.

Profile picture for user Neptune

Member for

15 years 1 month

Posts: 627

Now CMA CGM commits for the big ships
Maersk Lines led the way with the delivery a few weeks ago of its first post-11,000 TEU container ship the Emma
Maersk, the first of a number of the class to be built for the company at the Odense Shipyard in Denmark..

Now other shipping lines are getting in on the act, which is likely to see a splurge of super container ships being
churned out by an ever hungry market. French shipping giant CMA CGM is the first to follow in Maersk Lines footsteps
with an order for eight 11,400 TEU ships placed with South Korea’s Hyundai Heavy Industries.
The cost of each ship is reported to be US $ 150,000 million or $ 1.2 Bn for all eight, according to Korean media
sources. The ships will be delivered in 2009 and 2010. Korean sources add that Hyundai already has more than 21
ships over 10,000 TEU in size on order.
Speculation now is on how long it will take MSC to place their first super post 11,000 TEU vessel.

So 150 million dollars for a ship that large... Really sounds attractive for warship conversion (in the planning stage, building stage or real conversion) when the need would be there!

Member for

14 years 7 months

Posts: 847

The "L" class conversions came in at approx $250 million each, and that was for a far less ambitious conversion than the ITP concept.

Member for

14 years 3 months

Posts: 338

Going slightly away form the main subject but...

The need to replace MV's had a big impact on what RN naval ships could be built or converted during WW1.

Is pre-fabrication as with the WW2 Liberty ships possible at the start of WW1 (the Hog Islanders were a possible example) and if so could it have eased the pressure on UK yards enough for additional naval ship construction or conversion?

Member for

14 years 7 months

Posts: 847

Basically almost all modern commercial vessels are built to standardised designs and using modular construction, and can be built very quickly and still maintain good quality. However UK yards now lack the infrastructure, skills base and access to materials to match the exertions of 1939-45, British yards just don't have the capabilities anymore for anything other than limited projects. Even the military builders are struggling against a skills problem largely due to the cyclical nature of warship building and the fact few people with sense would go into ship building in the UK today unless there was nothing else. BAE are trying to turn things around, but the two LPD's were built to appallingly poor standards.

Member for

14 years 3 months

Posts: 338

One of the things that is frequently mentioned in books by one of the RN's former naval architects (David K Brown) is the backward nature of UK yards both pre WW2 and pre WW1.

The Liberty ship construction and the Hog Islanders both needed new shipyards to be built for the full benefit of the program to be felt although the British forerunner to the Liberty ships was built at a traditional yard by traditional methods IIRC.

If someone had come along pre 1914 with the standard pre-fab construction method, what kind of opposition would he face from the existing UK shipyards regarding changes in 'thats the way we've always done it'.

Member for

14 years 7 months

Posts: 847

In those years it was indeed often a question of management/commercial inertia, but they did have a huge skills base and the infrastructure needed to build ships on a huge scale, sadly that just isn't there anymore. I once went to a IMarE lecture where a former chairman of British ship builders argued very strongly that the politicised nature of government management of that body played a key role in the demise of the whole industry as prders were fed to shipyards in constituencies important to MP's rather than the yards that may have had a future, and sadly his arguments had the ring of truth.

Member for

14 years 3 months

Posts: 338

I once went to a IMarE lecture where a former chairman of British ship builders argued very strongly that the politicised nature of government management of that body played a key role in the demise of the whole industry as prders were fed to shipyards in constituencies important to MP's rather than the yards that may have had a future, and sadly his arguments had the ring of truth.

You have just got to look at the two Bay class LPD(A) 'awarded' to Swan Hunter to see that.....

Member for

14 years 7 months

Posts: 847

Yep, Swan Hunter just wasn't up to the job of managing the LSD(A) program and it was a disaster both for Swan Hunter and for the RFA. At the very most they should have been subcontracted by BAE to assemble the boats with BAE managing things, even that would have been high risk.

Profile picture for user Neptune

Member for

15 years 1 month

Posts: 627

Putin Prioritizes Oil Platforms, Tankers
Thursday, November 02, 2006

Russian President Vladimir Putin prioritized the construction of oil platforms and tankers in the shipbuilding sector. Projects are being implemented for the construction of platforms for the development of oil and gas fields on the continental shelf, and a definite class of tankers, Putin said, opening a meeting devoted to shipbuilding industry issues.
Russia, which holds the world's largest natural gas reserves and is among the top 10 countries in terms of oil reserves, is implementing huge oil and gas field projects, particularly the Shtokman deposit off the Arctic shelf, and Sakhalin I and Sakhalin II off the Pacific shelf, that have been the focus of the world's leading investors. Last month, energy giant Gazprom announced it will develop the Shtokman deposit on its own, a move that stunned Norway's Statoil and Norsk Hydro, France's Total, and U.S. giants Chevron and ConocoPhillips, all companies previously on a shortlist of contenders for the project. Russia also seems eager to limit foreign participation in the development of the Russian energy sector and to revise production-sharing agreements. Devised in the 1990s, when oil prices were much lower, PSAs offered investors major tax benefits, which provided a kind of risk bonus for investing in Russia. Source: RIA Nivosti

Awch, that's going to get cold in there...

Member for

14 years 3 months

Posts: 338

Yep, Swan Hunter just wasn't up to the job of managing the LSD(A) program and it was a disaster both for Swan Hunter and for the RFA. At the very most they should have been subcontracted by BAE to assemble the boats with BAE managing things, even that would have been high risk.

There is a post on Warships1 saying Jaap Kroese has thrown in the towel and put the mothballed Swan Hunter shipyard up for sale. He is asking for £2 million for the land plus the scrap value of the machinery and equipment. The most likely outcome is that the yard will be bought by a developer and become a housing estate.

Member for

14 years 7 months

Posts: 847

The fundamental problem is that the only orders UK yards can realistically compete for these days are UK government orders, and with the downsizing of the Royal Navy and it's knock on effect on the RFA, and the very limited shipping program for other UK government agencies (NERC, BAS, fisheries protection, Customs and Excise etc.) there just isn't that much work to support BAE, VT and Swan Hunter, and the government has already decided that voters on the Clyde are more important than voters on the Tyne or anywhere else when it comes to shipping, so c'est la vie. Swan Hunter really ended when BAE got the order for HMS Ocean.

Profile picture for user Neptune

Member for

15 years 1 month

Posts: 627

In reply to a question from Brezhnev in the Russian Navy topic,
here is the reply:

Actually that is not true. Seawise Giant, as built, was not that large. She was however lengthened during service and then renamed to Happy Giant, Jahre Viking and now Knox Nevis (FSO). The largest tankers every built, from keel up, were the three sisterships Prairal, Piere Guillaumat and Batillus. They were 414m long when constructed, Jahre Viking/Knox Nevis was 457m after lengthening.
Please see these pages for pictures:
Batillus:
http://supertankers.topcities.com/id22.htm
Pierre:
http://supertankers.topcities.com/id38.htm
Prairal:
http://supertankers.topcities.com/id37.htm

Seawise Giant was attacked by the Iraqi airforce in 1981 in the tanker war, here are some pictures just after the attack and some time after the attack during reconstruction.
http://supertankers.topcities.com/id112.htm
And here is Seawise Giant, Jahre Viking and Knock Nevis:
http://supertankers.topcities.com/id44.htm
http://supertankers.topcities.com/id23.htm
http://supertankers.topcities.com/id132.htm

Considering that Prairal and her sisters are already scrapped and Jahre Viking is a stationary storage for Crude oil at sea, the four Ti ULCCs are the biggest double hull tankers nowadays. I believe neither Prairal, her sisters nor Jahre Viking are double hulled.
For now tankers are only getting smaller as no one can predict how much oil there will be in 30 years (which is the "maximum" age of a tanker), there is some fear that in 20 years there will be not enough oil to justify the use of such tankers and hence they are building them slightly smaller nowadays.
Containerships on the other hand...

Member for

14 years 7 months

Posts: 847

The Jahre Viking (or whatever her current name is :) )and the big Prairal/Battilus/Piere Guillaumat trio were only single hull.

Profile picture for user Neptune

Member for

15 years 1 month

Posts: 627

As I expected, given their size and loading capacity.

http://supertankers.topcities.com/49e20e70.jpg

Got to love this one, small ULCC Crawling on land. (of course sad if you think this is for scrapping). It would be cool to see one of these in the middle of a city, that would really show their size. This one is just a small ULCC though, 339,000dwt, you're only ULCC from 300,000dwt so she's only slightly over the limit. She's 356m long instead of the regular 333m for a VLCC. Her draft and beam are more like a VLCC though. The Ti tankers are 442,000dwt, so that's a USN CVN more in weight :D