The world’s leading shipbuilder, South Korean Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI), has proposed a new design feature to further increase the container intake on Ultra-Large Container vessels. The shipbuilder showcased the new concept recently at the maritime trade fair SMM in Hamburg.
The patented concept, dubbed ‘Skybench’, consists of a new three-deck-high accommodation block situated on top of two side casings. The side casings act as the crew accommodation block and stretch the length of two 40ft bays. The design sees the ship’s stores crane, utility rooms and lifeboats situated in these side casings. The space for additional containers is made by sliding the Skybench fore and aft along rails situated on top of the accommodation casings, creating additional cargo space and allowing for almost two complete bays of containers to be loaded underneath the Skybench and above the ship’s bunker tanks.
Four electrically-driven train units slide the bench from its normal to a so called ‘temporary port position’ in an operation that takes ten minutes. HHI say that the operation can be carried out at a single port on the ship’s rotation by planning to take the extra containers at the same port.
The new concept is designed to be installed on any ultra-large twin-island container ship, as these feature a deckhouse set further forward than a conventionally designed ship. It is estimated that capacity can be increased by an extra 350teu for a 20-row-wide 14,000teu vessel, while the increase is 450teu for a 23-row-wide 19,000teu vessel.
According to the shipbuilder, the new concept could also compensate for the capacity lost by newly-designed gas-powered ships, as a liquefied natural gas vessel requires larger tanks than a vessel powered by heavy fuel oil (HFO-fuel).
Hyundai have also suggested that the innovation could be applied to HFO-fuelled vessels, as the Skybench introduces an additional safety element in case of an emergency, since the sliding accommodation block is detachable and would float if the vessel should sink. AM