Presentation of Mega Container Carrier

Friday, September 30, 2005
Picture 165-2: The 13,000 TEU container ship

With an innovative design study for a 13,000 TEU container ship, Germanischer Lloyd and the Korean yard Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) are showing just how big container carriers will be in the near future. Before over 100 customers at the Container Forum, Mr D.S. Cho, Executive Vice President of HHI, and Jan-Olaf Probst, Ship Type Manager for Container Ships at Germanischer Lloyd, presented their new ship design with two main engines and two propellers. All the relevant calculations have been carried out and the design completely approved by Germanischer Lloyd; the Korean yard is now accepting orders.

The ship is 382 metres long and 54.2 metres wide, and has a draught of 13.5 m. The 6,230 containers below deck are stacked in 10 tiers and 19 rows, while the 7,210 deck containers are stowed in 21 rows. Powered by two 45,000 kW engines, the vessel's speed is 25.5 knots. The design study is characterized by two technical innovations: the cooperation partners decided on a twin drive configuration and the separation of deckhouse and engine room.

The question as to what propulsion powers and arrangements are needed to achieve the desired speed of 26 knots may be answered by diverse technical approaches: in the early phase of detailed calculations, not only the twin drive, but also the possibilities offered by one main engine, as well as one main engine with an additional pod drive, were considered. The cost estimate for the various drive configurations, never before done by a shipyard, indicated that a twin propulsion system was only negligibly more cost-intensive than the variant with only one main engine.

From the technical standpoint, the aspect of absolute safety is a major argument for the twin drive. In the event of an engine failure, the ship would remain manoeuvrable and could reach a safe harbour under its own steam. The main-engine and shaft sizes correspond to those of a 4,000 TEU carrier. More than 15 years of experience and smooth operation speak in favour of this size of propulsion unit. Engines and propellers of this size are in widespread use, making the maintenance and procurement of spare parts both easy and cost-effective.

On the other hand, the single-engine variant leads to several difficulties that have not been solved as yet. The output of a 14-cylinder engine is not enough to achieve the required speed, whereas a 16-cylinder engine would be too large. As regards propeller size, HHI believes that the maximum has been reached with a diameter of 9.5 m and a weight of 110 t. What is more, the single-screw design involves a great risk of cavitation; the extremely high shaft power also represents a hazard.

With a view to meeting the SOLAS requirements for bridge visibility on such a large ship, the design envisages the separation of deckhouse and engine room. The innovative arrangement of the deckhouse in the forward part of the ship permits an increase in container capacity and a reduction in ballast water. The international regulations on the protection of fuel tanks are also satisfied with this design, because they are located in the protected area below the deckhouse. Another welcome result of this innovation is reduced bending and increased stiffness of the hull.

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