Maritrans Inc. has obtained a patent on its proprietary process for rebuilding single-hull tank ships and converting them into double-hull vessels. With the most recent patent, Maritrans has now patented the double-hull conversion process for both barges and tank ships. The U.S. Oil Pollution Act of 1990, as well as the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL), each require the retirement of single-hull tank vessels
. In January of 2001, Maritrans announced that it had received the first of three patents for internal double-hull conversions of single-hull barges. These Maritrans patents involved pre-fabrication of large tank structures that are inserted into the existing hull, with a trunk deck extending above the pre-existing deck. The design allows double-hull conversion while preserving virtually all of the previous cargo capacity. Maritrans is currently completing its fifth barge rebuilding project using this patented process.
This latest patent, for single-hull tank ships, addresses the unique design of these vessels. Maritrans utilized its computer-assisted modular design process, pioneered in the previous double-hull patents, to formulate an appropriate double-hull structure for tank ships. The patent differs from the previous barge patents in that it combines the addition of an inner bottom with external side modules. Maritrans also has other U.S. and foreign patent applications pending, corresponding to this latest patent and additional features of its double-hull tanker rebuild technology.
Maritrans' patent now grants Maritrans exclusive rights to convert single-hull tank ships into double-hull vessels under this methodology. Maritrans is actively seeking to market its patent to vessel owners worldwide seeking a cost-effective method of preserving their vessels.