China’s Wuhu Shipyard has started construction on a series of four ultra-efficient heavy lift and project cargo vessels for delivery to Germany-based SAL Heavy Lift in mid-2024 and Jumbo Shipping of the Netherlands in the first half of 2025.

All of the 14,600dwt Orca-class hybrid vessels will measure 149.9m by 27.2m and will be powered by an innovative hybrid propulsion system making use of variable-speed Wärtsilä 32 methanol dual-fuel main engines and an energy storage system (ESS) based on lithium-titanium-oxide (LTO) batteries.

This will allow a service speed of 15-knots while consuming less than 20 tonnes of fuel per day, although the vessels will also be able to trade at a slow speed of 10-knots at 6 tonnes per day while also being able to reach a maximum speed of 18.5-knots for pressing deliveries.

The vessels will feature a single box-shaped cargo hold with hatch covers having a load capacity of 10 tonnes/m2 served by two all-electric 800-tonne Liebherr cranes capable of handling items weighting up to 1,600-tonnes in tandem.

Report by Jim Shaw

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