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by Nigel Gee Managing Director Nigel Gee and Associates Ltd

Over the last 10 years, marine technical and commercial published literature has been full of proposals and predictions for future fast freight vessels and services. As yet, no significant new fast freight operation has been realised. Most published proposals assume that fast freight vessels can be developed directly from existing fast ferry technology. However, examination of the economics of operating such vessels indicates that it would be very difficult for them to be economically viable unless freight rates can be increased by factors of at least 2 or 3. Such vessels may see limited application on some short, highly specialised routes. For a wider application of fast freight technology, operators are looking for fuel efficient economic solutions which will enable vessels to operate within or close to current freight rates. Designers, Nigel Gee and Associates Ltd, and container ship operator, Norasia Services SA, have, for the last 3 years, been researching this area and have developed three types of new ship designs: 1. The Super Feeder A relatively fast ship, capable of between 25 and 30 knots, carrying modest cargoes of between 1,000 and 1,500 TEU, designed to operate over 2,000 to 3,000 nautical miles, feeding containers from regional ports into the new hub ports and providing cargoes for the new generation of 6,000 to 8,000 container vessels. Ten of the Super Feeders are now on order in Germany and China. 2. The Super Fast Liner This ship is based on a radical new hull configuration and is capable of operating economically at speeds of 35 knots and above, typically carrying 2,000 to 3,000 TEU. 3. Specialised Small Freight Carrier Capable of carrying 1,500 tonnes of palletised or Ro-Ro freight typically over a distance of less than 1,000 nautical miles.


The paper describes the design development of the three types and examines their transport efficiency in comparison with other proposed and existing vessels.

Having graduated with an Honours Degree in Naval Architecture from Newcastle University in 1969 and, in the same year, completed a shipyard apprenticeship sandwich course with Swan Hunter Shipbuilders in Newcastle, England, entered a career in the Naval Architecture of high speed and novel ship and boat forms beginning with Burness Corlett & Partners, Consultants, in Hampshire, England, moved to manufacturing industry with Hovermarine in 1971 being promoted to Engineering Manager in 1976. Left Hovermarine to pursue an academic career in 1979 as Senior Lecturer in Naval Architecture and Fluid Mechanics at the Southampton Institute. Lectured to First Degree level and undertook a number of research projects linked with industry. In 1983 returned to industry with the Vosper Group as Technical General Manager of a department with 60 technical personnel. Left in 1986 to start the design company Nigel Gee and Associates Ltd. Since 1986 the company has undertaken designs for over 100 built fast vessels. These vessel designs range from 10m, 30 knot crew boats, to 200m, 25 knots fast container ships. In the field of fast ferries, the company has produced designs for a number of SES and catamaran designs including two 36 knot ferries introduced into service in New York Harbour in 1997, and a 50 knot vessel due to enter service in Florida in November 1998. A number of designs have been produced for fast car and passenger ferries and fast freight vessels. Ten vessels are currently under construction to the company’s design for a 25 knot fast feeder container vessel and further designs for fast freight vessels with speeds from 30-60 knots are in progress.


INTRODUCTION During the last ten years, marine technical published literature has been full of proposals and predictions for future fast freight vessels and services. The very existence of this International Conference on Fast Freight Transportation by Sea underlines the widespread interest in this subject. However, to date, no significant new fast freight operation has been established. Whilst there is a general perception of market demand for fast freight services, it has proved difficult to define this market except in the most general terms. It is likely that the market will be led by the supply side, at least in the short term. There is strong recent evidence that new high speed marine markets can be stimulated by the advent of new fast vessel designs even when the market


demand is unknown. As an example, prior to 1990 there were no fast car ferries (with the exception of a small unique fleet of hovercraft on the English Channel) but the introduction of a new design of large, aluminium, car carrying catamaran by International Catamarans in 1990 proved so successful that there are now in excess of 120 large, fast, car carrying vessels in operation and a further 33 on order. Some of these vessels are already carrying freight at speeds of 40 knots and above. The proportion of freight to vehicles carried, however, is still low in comparison to the number of cars and passengers. Fast car ferries have been introduced in large numbers mainly because when operated on suitable routes they are actually less expensive to operate than conventional displacement steel monohull designs. Actual costs vary between different designs and routes, but in general the capital cost of a fast ferry for a given work capacity is lower than that of the capital cost for a conventional vessel. A 40 knot, 200 car vessel has the same work capacity as the 20 knot, 400 car conventional vessel, but because of its much smaller size and the lower level of passenger accommodation required for a short sea passage, the smaller vessels are actually cheaper to construct. Fuel costs for the fast vessel are, of course, very much higher than for the conventional vessel, but crew costs can be a fraction of those required for a conventional vessel due, once again, to physical size and the lower level of accommodation including a total lack of sleeping accommodation. The net effect of these factors is that high speed ferries operating on short sea passages up to 100 nautical miles are normally cheaper to operate than their conventional counterparts and the operator has the added bonus of being able to charge a small premium for the increased speed. Thus, economics have driven this development and not passenger demand. The argument from the design and build community is that coastal and short sea freight routes could be served by the same type of vessel. An existing car and passenger design, modified by the removal of passenger saloons and car decks and all their safety and comfort features, could provide a good platform for the carriage of pure freight. Many such freight vessel proposals have been offered to the operator market, but as yet none have entered service. The reasons for this are that the economic factors in the fast car ferry market are very different to those in the short sea freight market. Firstly, platform costs for the small fast freight carrier are greater than their simple, slow, conventional counterparts, which is the opposite of the situation with the fast car ferries and secondly, although fuel costs are up, crew costs remain approximately constant. These vessels are, therefore, more costly than conventional freight vessels in a business where freight rates are extremely low. Freight rates for containerised or palletised cargo are only a fraction of those chargeable for passenger/cars and their occupants. Examination of deep sea, long distance freight rates yields the same conclusions as for short sea transport but, in the case of long distance transoceanic freight, rates are even lower.


These qualitative factors which have hindered the development of fast freight services are summarised in Table 1 below.






High Shipbuilding Costs High Fuel Costs High Shipbuilding Costs (?) High Fuel Costs (?)

Low Freight Rates

Very Low Freight Rates

For short sea freight, freight rates would need to rise by a factor between 2 and 3 for a 40-45 knots vessel to be economically viable. It has been argued that this sort of raised freight rate could be justified on the basis of the higher speed offered and the very high cost of air freight at about ten times existing sea freight. It is considered that this argument is not sound since current short sea freight is being carried at speeds of approximately 15-20 knots and air freight at 450-500 knots. The increase in speed of the sea freight to 40 knots represents only 4% of the speed increase possible by sending cargo by air freight and it, therefore, seems unlikely that a 200-300% increase in freight rate could be justified. Ro-Ro sea freight which currently travels on conventional Ro-Ro car and passenger ferries is being carried at a premium rate and it should be possible to carry this cargo on fast freighters which have been derived from the current generation of fast car ferries. A vessel suitable for this type of freight is described later in the paper. As regards deep sea freight, the market is much larger but the demand harder to predict. This particular market is characterised by extremely low freight rates. At present typical rates are detailed in Table 2 below.


ROUTING Europe - Asia Asia - Europe Europe - Middle East North Europe - Montreal Montreal - North Europe TEU $350 $1000 $800 $350 $450 FEU $550 $2000 $1400 -

These low freight rates have significantly reduced profitability in the container shipping industry. Over-supply of ships and consequent low rates have forced shipping companies to form alliances and increase the size of individual ships to benefit from economies of scale. Even taking these measures, profit margins are less than 5% even with ships running with 90% of their slots full. The economy of scale approach has rapidly forced container ship sizes up, to large vessels having 6000-8000 TEU slots, and significantly larger vessels are planned. In this climate it is extremely unlikely that higher freight rates for fast vessels would be considered by the market. However, if a fast vessel could be designed which would work profitably within existing freight rates then, clearly, this would be of interest to shippers who could get a quicker delivery within the same cost structure. 2. FAST FREIGHT VESSELS TRADING WITH EXISTING FREIGHT RATES The perceived demand for faster freight services and the need to trade within existing freight rate levels has been recognised by container operator Norasia of Switzerland. (“The owner”). The owner argued that the trading patterns of the container shipping company alliances using 6000-8000 TEU ships through hub ports, has created an environment where larger, very fast, feeder vessels are required. The new large container ships are forced to use a small number of hub ports. This is partly because of draught limitations, but more that the economies of such ships preclude calling at many small ports between their hub destinations. Very large consignments of containers being handled at the hub ports need to be fed to and from outlying regional ports quickly and in relatively large groupings. Conventional existing feeder ships carry varying capacities of approximately 500 TEU at speeds of 15-17 knots


over relatively short distances. The owner believes that a new generation of ships is required having the following attributes: • Very high speed up to 30 knots • The ability to operate anywhere in the world, including the North Atlantic • Capability for carrying between 1000-2000 TEU • Sea-kindly and able to maintain high speeds in adverse weather conditions • Capable of carrying all sizes of containers and a large number of refrigerated containers. With this background, the owner asked Nigel Gee and Associates Ltd (“The designers”) in late 1995 to examine the possibility of designing a 30 knot container ship capable of carrying 12000 tonnes of cargo, with a propulsive power goal of only 30MW but with 35MW being acceptable. The owner’s economic analysis indicated that only if such a ship could be built for a certain capital sum, and have a fuel consumption commensurate with approximately 35MW of installed power, could it be economically viable.


DESIGN OF THE PEBOS CONTAINER SHIP An initial investigation of the powering requirements of conventional container ships of this size and speed indicated that a power level closer to 50MW would be required, and that the owner’s requirement would be difficult if not impossible. The designers agreed to undertake some preliminary parametric studies with a view to optimising the power requirement for the deadweight and speed specification but without any other constraints on dimensions, stability, ease of build etc. The initial parametric study indicated that a vessel could be built to meet the owner’s specification with a propulsion power of approximately 35MW but that such a vessel would need to be more slender than any other previously constructed and would be profoundly unstable. The first solution to the stability problem was to propose a vessel with a pair of outriggers or sponsons, thus forming a Trimaran configuration. Very large righting moments can be achieved with relatively small stabilising sponsons, but these sponsons must be deeply immersed if sponson emergence from the surface is to be avoided when the ship is rolling. Sponson emergence is undesirable because the righting lever halves at the point of emergence. If deep draught sponsons are fitted to the vessel, then sponson drags become so high as to negate the benefit of the optimised, long, slender, central hull. The solution to the drag problem clearly lies with shallow draught sponsons. Shallow sponsons in the normal full load displacement condition produce a statical stability curve as shown in Figure 1 (aft sponsons only - lower line). The change of slope between 2° and 3° and the negative righting moment between 5° and 19° is clearly unacceptable. The proposed solution to this


problem is to utilise a second pair of sponsons ahead of the first pair and dispose them at a higher level, such that the sponsons are clear of the water with the vessel at the normal full load displacement. These sponsons are configured such that as one aft sponson emerges, a forward sponson on the opposite side of the vessel enters the water, thus restoring the righting moment. The revised statical stability curve, due to fitting the second pair of sponsons, is also shown in Figure 1 (higher line), and with this configuration the vessel meets IMO stability requirements. This proposed configuration has a number of other advantages: • Damaged stability of the vessel is improved. The vessel can sustain the total loss of one sponson without capsize of the ship. • Docking of the vessel parallel to the quay (vital in container operations) is achieved without difficulty. • Torsional righting moments are input to the vessel in two separate locations thus minimising torsionally induced stresses at the sponson to hull joint. • Sponson drag is minimised. Only one pair of shallow running sponsons are in the water in calm to moderate conditions. This sponson stabilising method is now subject to world-wide patent applications (Patents applied for under Great Britain Application No: 9612810.3; European Application No: 96931150.5 designating all contracting States; USA Application No: 09/043523 and Australian Application No; 69947/96). (See Figure 2). A 30 knot container ship based on the Pentamaran Patent has now been designed and tank tested. The tank test programme comprised extensive parent hull investigations using a sectional model which enabled the investigation of a range of length to beam ratios. A variety of bow and stern configurations were also tested. Three types of sponsons were investigated all in variable positions along the length of the vessel. The final configuration was tested in calm water and head seas and a full programme of self propulsion tests undertaken. Finally, a large model was built and tested on a manoeuvring basin at a range of headings in regular and irregular seas up to 6m significant wave height. A general arrangement drawing of the proposed vessel is shown in Figure 3. Wire frame hull lines are shown in Figure 4. Hull form was determined by designing for optimum prismatic mid-section coefficients for the Froude number implied by each set of selected dimensions. Length to beam ratio was chosen by selecting best length displacement ratio for a given Froude number. This iterative process yielded an “optimum” hull form which was later checked and confirmed on the variable length to beam ratio tank


models. The resulting vessel known as PEBOS (Pentamaran Box Ship) has the following particulars as shown in Table 3.

Length Overall Length Between Perps Breadth Moulded Breadth (Max) Depth Moulded Draught (Design) Deadweight (Max) Service Speed at Design Draught Range Propulsion Power Installed Power Fuel Consumption 242.00 m 226.00 m 26.66 m 55.62 m 21.95 m 9.70 m 16,800 tonnes 30 knots 6000 n.m 2 x 18000 KW 2 x 23280 KW 180 tonnes/day (90%MCR)

Table 3 shows a requirement for 36MW of propulsive power to achieve a speed of 30 knots in the fully loaded condition. Although this figure is some 20% higher than the owner’s goal, it was accepted by Norasia as a powering level which was economically acceptable to them in terms of daily fuel burn. Some further work on reducing the installed power was undertaken, and investigation of a contra-rotating propeller solution reduced the propulsive power level to approximately 33MW, which was within 10% of the owner’s original goal. A summary of powering calculations is shown in Table 4 below.




Full Load Displacement DRAG SUMMARY Resistance from Tank Tests Central Hulls and Sponsons and Appendages (inc Full Scale Roughness & Aero)

23185 tonnes POWERING SUMMARY 1751.0 kN Propeller Efficiency Hull Efficiency Relative Rotative Efficiency Quasi-Propulsive Coefficient Transmission Efficiency Overall Propulsive Efficiency Power @ 30 knots C.R.P 0.780 1.119 0.987 0.861 0.950 0.818 33018 kW 37233 kW C.P.P 0.705 1.119 0.987 0.779 0.970 0.755 35778 kW 40345 kW

Total Hull & Appendage Drag

1751.0 kN

Overload Power (26500 tonnes @ 30 knots)

Loads and motions are difficult to predict on any vessel of unusual form, and particularly so in one designed for high speeds. It was considered prudent, therefore, to test a reasonably large scale model of the vessel in a manoeuvring basin. A 7m vessel of the complete PEBOS container ship was constructed and tested in the manoeuvring basin at Marintek in Trondheim. The dynamically scaled model was tested in waves of 4m and 6m significant height for both regular and irregular waves. Forces and moments in three planes were measured at each sponson to hull connection. A summary of the motions and acceleration data gathered in irregular waves is shown in Table 5 below. Motions and accelerations figures are given for the ship model running with propeller revolutions which gave a 30 knot scale speed in calm conditions. Speeds varied with heading but, in general, speed in 4m significant wave height, irregular seas was between 29 and 29.5 knots, and in 6m irregular waves between 28 and 28.5 knots. The low speed loss and the low level of motions and accelerations were considered to be good by the owner, when comparing these figures with other existing ships in their fleet.


Roll degrees Pitch degrees Bridge Accel. g CG Accel. g Fwd Perp Accel. g

4m Irregular Waves Head Seas Bow Quartering Seas Beam Seas 0.537 1.964 4.317 0.430 0.650 0.367 0.033 0.058 0.061 0.031 0.055 0.056 0.042 0.055 0.081

6m Irregular Waves Head Seas Bow Quartering Seas Beam Seas 0.725 2.308 5.114 1.107 1.222 0.439 0.075 0.092 0.079 0.070 0.087 0.073 0.094 0.082 0.104

The results achieved for the PEBOS vessel were believed to represent a significant step forward in the design of a fast freight vessel, having moderate power levels and exhibiting good seakeeping characteristics. This vessel was then compared with other published designs for high speed cargo vessels on the basis of transport efficiency: Transport efficiency = Deadweight (tonnes) x Speed (knots) Shaft Power (KW)

Deadweight was chosen rather than payload because this figure is most frequently quoted in the published designs. Transport efficiency for PEBOS and other comparative vessels is plotted in Figure 5. It can be seen that at a speed of 30 knots, the PEBOS vessel has a transport efficiency which is approximately 40% greater than the apparent limit of existing fast ship concepts. In making these comparisons it has been assumed that quoted power levels for existing published concepts include a nominal 10% sea margin, and 10% sea margin has been added to the PEBOS power levels before computing transport efficiency. The reasons for the 40% improvement over existing concepts may be summarised as follows:



Low Resistance Form The main hull has been optimised for the displacement and speed required. The selection of the best possible hull form coefficients has led to a very fine ship with a block coefficient of approximately 0.44 and using an extreme form of bulbous bow which in itself reduces total hull resistance by 10%. The use of a very high length to beam ratio hull minimises wave making. At 30 knots full scale, viscous drag is approximately 80% of total and wave making drag 20%.


Elimination of Unnecessary Additional Resistance The vessel has no bilge keels, since the sponsons provide all the necessary roll damping. A single bow thruster is fitted but no stern thruster. Good low speed manoeuvrability is achieved by fitting a Becker rudder.


Weight Control and Structural Design The structure for the vessel has been designed from first principles rather than a rule based approached. A finite element model of the vessel was produced by the CETEC Consultancy using NISA II software. Global loads were established computationally in association with the classification society. Steel selected was 355n/mm2 yield for 2 all longitudinal material and 235n/mm yield for all transverse material. Using this methodology, a lower structural weight is possible than by simply applying classification society rules directly.


Low Draught High Length to Beam Ratio Sponsons According to the Pentamaran Patent The Use of Medium Speed Propulsion Machinery The vessel has been specified with twin medium speed diesels in lieu of a conventional slow speed diesel. This saves approximately 1000 tonnes of machinery weight and increases the payload capacity of the vessel.


Following the tank and manoeuvring basin tests, a preliminary design exercise was undertaken for the PEBOS container ship. Preliminary mid-ship section, structural profile and decks, machinery arrangement and associated machinery and electrical systems were developed. Detailed weight checks were undertaken to confirm the figures used in the first pass around the design loop. A computer generated image of the vessel was also produced (Figure 6). The complete preliminary design package confirmed the original assumptions as regards displacement and LCG and deadweight.


At this point the owner decided to request quotations for the construction of ten PEBOS ships. A number of shipbuilding quotations were obtained from mainly European shipyards. The quoted shipbuilding costs were some 20% higher than Norasia’s budgeted cost figures, which had been calculated to allow an economically viable ship to be operated when considering present freight rates. The cost quotations were compared directly with previous quotations for built ships, having similar steel weights and installed power levels. The reasons for the excess 20% cost could not be identified, and were finally assumed to be contingencies added by the shipyards to cover what may have been perceived as a high risk shipbuilding activity. Norasia decided that the construction of these new vessels with their high length to beam ratio, fine hull form, novel structural configuration and the use of multihull elements was too big a step for the shipbuilding industry to undertake with confidence. The construction of PEBOS vessels was, therefore, postponed and an intermediate step towards large fast feeder vessels was adopted by the ship owner. 4. DESIGN AND BUILD OF THE FFB CONTAINER SHIPS A new specification for a slightly slower vessel was drawn up on the same basis as the original PEBOS specification. Power levels and construction costs were once again determined by the owner on the basis of operating an economically viable ship within existing freight rates. The new specification for the vessel designated as Fast Feeder Box (FFB) is shown in Table 6 below.


NORASIA REQUIREMENT • 25 Knots • 10,000 tonnes of cargo • 300 plug reefer capacity • Less than 20 MW power • Monohull (no sponsons)

DESIGN CONCEPT • Hull lines from PEBOS concept • Maximise l/b ratio (7-8) • No bilge keels • Single screw • H.T steel structure • Medium speed diesels


The design of this vessel was to use all of the development which had gone into the PEBOS vessel, but with the overriding requirement that length to beam ratio should be restricted, such that sponson stabilisation would not be required. From analysis of the PEBOS parent hull tank tests results, it was possible to establish that the required power level of 20MW was achievable. The FFB was designed on this basis and a further set of tank tests undertaken to confirm the powering figures. The general arrangement of the FFB design is shown in Figure 7 and the mid-ship section of the FFB is shown in Figure 8. The design of the FFB vessel achieved all of the goals set by the owner and an initial fleet of 5 vessels was ordered from Jiangnan Shipyard in Shanghai, Peoples Republic of China. These vessels are all due for delivery during 1999. Following the placement of the order with Jiangnan, further market interest stimulated the owner to order a further 5 vessels from HDW in Kiel, Germany. A principal attraction of the offer from HDW was their ability to deliver vessels very quickly and these 5 vessels will all be delivered by the end of 1998. At the time of writing, 2 vessels are in service (Figure 9) and a third will be in service when this paper is presented to the Fast Freight Conference. The principal particulars of the FFB vessel are given in Table 7 below.



CONVENTIONAL 25 Kt SHIP 160.00 m 25.00 m 8.50 m 25.4 MW 24.2 Kts 9,500t

Length O.A Beam O.A Draught Trials Power Speed Payload

217.10 m 26.66 m 8.70 m 19.2 MW 25.0 Kts 9,500 t

Efficiency = Payload x Speed Power




In the table, FFB is compared with the “best conventional” fast feeder ship offered to Norasia, prior to the FFB design. FFB figures are the actual results achieved on trials for the first HDW ship. It can be seen that the transport efficiency expressed in terms of payload x speed ÷ power is some 37% better for the FFB than the conventional ship. These high efficiency figures are achieved by close attention to the factors which also influenced the PEBOS design, but without the use of sponsons. Like the PEBOS, FFB has no bilge keels, a single bow thruster, no stern thruster but a Becker rudder, and a structure derived from first principles by applying computationally derived loads to a finite element model. Like the PEBOS, the FFB is an “open top” container ship design. This arrangement, combined with the slender form and high length to beam ratio, gives rise to very high combined torsion and bending moments near mid-ships. The general arrangement drawing, Figure 6, shows that the depth of the structure at mid-ships has been increased by the creation of a raised deck together with associated outer and inner shell over the middle 40% of the ship’s length. This structurally efficient solution allows the load to be carried by the structure with minimum structural weight increase. The use of this raised structure near mid-ships does not adversely effect the tonnage measurement of the ship. The first two FFB vessels have completed their programme of trials with the first ship “Norasia Samantha” achieving speeds in excess of the contract condition. When corrected from trials condition to normal full load draught condition, Norasia Samantha achieved 25.3 knots at the design shaft power of 20MW compared with the contract condition of 25 knots. The speed achieved on trials was exactly as predicted by the Marintek tank tests. Accurate prediction of power required for design contract speeds is fundamental to the design of new faster vessels using previously untried hull forms. There is a danger that contingencies built into the design will mask the real advantages of any new approach to vessel design and the use of such contingencies may make proposals insufficiently attractive to an owner and preclude these new designs being converted to shipbuilding contracts. In the design of FFB, the designers were particularly mindful of the following factors which could artificially increase the predicted power levels for the design and reduce its attractiveness to the prospective owner: • The building in of significant margins in the powering prediction by the tank test institution in order to protect themselves and the shipbuilder against possible penalties for failing to achieve contract speed. • The use of unnecessary drag producing appendages (see earlier). • The use of unnecessarily high sea margins. The slender, low block coefficient forms proposed in this paper suffer very little speed loss when operating in a seaway compared with more conventional fuller forms.


In the context of the first item above, Marintek were requested by the designers to produce a prediction of expected power required on trials to produce the speed of 25 knots with no margins. The Marintek prediction method uses a model to ship correlation coefficient, which is empirically derived from previous tank and trials results. For the FFB vessel, this correlation coefficient is negative and results in a reduction of the ship total resistance coefficient by approximately 10%. The designers were completely satisfied with this approach since previous fast vessels tested at Marintek had also achieved their predicted trials speed. However, when the contract for 5 ships was awarded to HDW in Kiel, they elected to carry out their own tank tests at HSVA in Hamburg. HSVA constructed their own model to the same lines as for the Marintek tests. Model drags at HSVA were an average of 2% higher than model drag at Marintek and this may be considered to be within normal tank experimental error. However, the extrapolation method used at HSVA predicted a trials power, some 13% higher at 25 knots. This results in an HSVA prediction of just under 24.5 knots for 20MW of shaft power as compared with 25.3 knots from Marintek, a considerable difference of nearly 1 knot. It is certainly not suggested that there is anything wrong with the HSVA prediction method, but simply that the designer needs to be aware of margins which may be hidden within a tank’s prediction method. A shipbuilder having to guarantee trials performance would, in any case, be happier with the HSVA prediction than that from Marintek. However, from the point of view of the designer trying to achieve higher levels of vessel efficiency, the Marintek approach is favoured. These trials results and predictions are shown in Figure 10. Clearly, the ten ship order from Norasia underlines the owner’s satisfaction with the efficiency of the design and this has been further reinforced by the FFB transport efficiency which has also been plotted in Figure 5. From the ballast condition on trials, the FFB vessel achieved speeds of up to 28 knots and, since its introduction into service in August 1998, has already completed one loaded crossing of the Atlantic at an average speed of 26.14 knots and regularly cruises at 25 knots. In a recent crossing the first vessel experienced gale force winds for a day and a half, when speed was reduced to 24 knots and the vessel seakeeping and handling were reported to be good although no figures are yet available. The third of class FFB vessel due to enter service in October will be fully instrumented with strain gauges and accelerometers to provide feedback to the designers on the accelerations and structural strains achieved on the actual ship. This data will be supplemented by wave height data gathered at the same time. This programme of instrumentation is being undertaken in collaboration with Lloyds Register of Shipping and Germanischer Lloyd, with the aim of feeding information back to the classification societies on rule and direct calculated scantlings. Lloyds are the classification society for the 5 Jiangnan ships, Germanischer Lloyd for the 5 HDW ships.



THE NEXT GENERATION OF FAST FREIGHT VESSELS During the two year period of the design and build of the FFB vessel, the ship owner has decided that market demand for fast container vessels is for ships with an even higher speed than Project PEBOS. The designers are currently investigating the design of large container ships for speeds up to 35 knots and specialised freight carriers for speeds up to 60 knots. Table 8 shows the principal particulars of a series of larger container ships designed to carry up to 2,300 TEU at speeds of up to 34 knots.


LENGTH m 220 230 240 250 250 250


PAYLOAD tonnes 10476 13617 17037 20781 20781 20781

SPEED knots 30 30 30 30 32 34

POWER MW 36.1 40.5 43.5 47.0 58.0 75.0


Payload x Speed Power 8706

1164 1513 1893 2309 2309 2309

10087 11750 13264 11476 9421

The increase in scale and consequent reduction in Froude number allows the 34 knots PEBOS II to be slightly more efficient than the original design whilst carrying twice the cargo at 4 knots faster. Power levels, although high, are still within the range of medium speed diesels. The new Wartsila 64 series diesel could be used in a twin engine, single shaft configuration or, alternatively, four smaller diesels in a twin shaft, twin screw configuration. The ability of faster vessels to use medium speed diesel engines for propulsion rather than gas turbines is of great significance to ship operators. Not only do these diesel engines have significantly lower specific fuel consumption than gas turbines but fuel costs for heavy oil are approximately half of those for marine diesel oil. The owner was intrigued by several recent proposals for fast cargo ships crossing the Atlantic at average speeds of 37.5 knots and asked NGA to look at the implications of a PEBOS vessel travelling at this speed. The PEBOS vessel had actually been tank tested at scale speeds up to 37.5 knots, and so power predictions direct from model tests were possible. Table 9 shows the principal particulars of a PEBOS vessel


designed to carry a payload of approximately 13,000 tonnes at 37.5 knots with transatlantic range. Of particular significance is the cost of fuel per tonne of payload per 3,000 mile transatlantic trip. Costs are compared for a PEBOS vessel powered by medium speed diesels or gas turbine engines.


Length (m) Speed (knots) Power (MW) Generator Power (MW) Deadweight (tonnes) Fuel (tonnes) Other Deadweight (tonnes) Payload (tonnes) Fuel Costs per Hour (US$) Payload x Speed x Power -1 Payload x Speed x (FuelCost/Hr)-1 Fuel Cost per Trip x Payload -1 (US tonne -1) The following assumption have been made:

240 37.5 108.3 2.5 14875 1985 250.0 12640 1638 4278 289 12.09

240 37.5 108.3 2.5 15750 2151 250.0 13349 3157 4518 158 22.08

Gas Turbine Ship uses Diesel Oil for Propulsion and Power Generation. Medium Speed Diesel Ship uses HFO for Propulsion and Power Generation. Fuel Capacity and Consumption based on the following: Range : Generator Capacity : Diesels : Gas Turbines : Gas Turbines : Deadweight Constant : 3500 n.m 2.5 MW -1 -1 Medium speed Diesels sfc 181 g.kW .hr (MDO); 192 (HFO) Gas Turbines rated at 43 MW each Gas Turbines sfc 208 g.kW 250 tonnes

Fuel Costs assumed as follows: Heavy Fuel Oil : Diesel Oil : US$ 77 per tonne US$ 137 per tonne


Even faster vessels capable of speeds up to 60 knots at transatlantic range are now being requested by owners. These vessels would have application in moving containerised or palletised cargo for such items as high value pharmaceuticals, courier packages etc. The designers recently undertook a design study for the Halter Marine Group in the United States for a 60 knot vessel capable of transatlantic range. A rendering of the vessel is shown in Figure 11 and principal particulars of vessels designed to carry between 1000-4000 tonnes of cargo at 40, 50 and 60 knots shown in Table 10 below.

TABLE 10 HIGH SPEED TRANSATLANTIC PENTAMARAN VESSELS Speed Knots 40 40 40 40 50 50 50 50 60 60 60 60 Cargo Tonnes 1000 2000 3000 4000 1000 2000 3000 4000 1000 2000 3000 4000 Dwt Tonnes 2007 3207 4363 5839 2480 3769 5020 6233 3585 4745 5892 7041 L/B

15.45 14.52 13.51 11.85 20.00 19.64 18.75 18.13 20.00 20.00 20.00 20.00

This range of vessels is all based on the Pentamaran concept which gives significant powering advantages over conventional hulls required to operate at high Froude numbers. For these vessels, power levels are extremely high and the only powering option available is large marine gas turbines. For the 60 knot vessel 6 x LM 6000 turbines driving 3 waterjets would be required. As with all previous investigations a programme of tank tests has been undertaken for the 60 knots vessel and preliminary structural modelling will establish the feasibility of the concept. For smaller vessels operating at speeds of 40 knots and above, Froude numbers are even higher and the stabilised mono-hull Pentamaran design can lead to an efficient ship. The designers had previously investigated the design of a passenger and car ferry (Figure 12) designed to carry 200 cars and 1000 passengers at speeds of up to 40 knots. The transport efficiency of such a vessel compared with existing catamarans and mono-hulls is shown in Figure 13. Most existing, fast passenger and car ferries are constructed from


aluminium and use high speed diesels or gas turbines for propulsion. Figure 13 clearly shows the increased efficiency of a Pentamaran vessel designed using these materials and propulsors. It is believed, however, that operators of existing conventional car ferries would prefer a high speed car ferry built of the same materials and using the same type of propulsors as their existing fleet. Such a vessel would enable them to introduce new tonnage without changing the “engineering culture” of their operation. Redesigning the Pentamaran passenger and car ferry in steel and propelling by medium speed diesels, reduces the transport efficiency but still leads to a vessel at least as efficient as existing catamaran and mono-hull designs. The Pentamaran passenger and car ferry design has now been modified by the designers to meet the requirements of shippers wishing to carry relatively small consignments of Ro-Ro freight. Figure 14 shows an arrangement of such a vessel designed to carry 1200 tonnes of freight in the form of 30 loaded RoRo trailers and/or cars and passengers. Such a vessel could not compete economically with conventional slow speed Ro-Ro or Lo-Lo vessels but may find application on short sea routes where shippers are prepared to pay a significant premium.

Whilst some high value freight on particular routes will be carried in specialised vessels demanding high freight rates, the author believes that most freight will continue to be carried by vessels which can work within the existing freight rate structures. Project FFB has shown that new, more efficient vessels can be designed and built, enabling the freight to be carried economically at higher speeds than previously thought possible. New designs, such as those using the Pentamaran principle, will be able to carry containerised freight at speeds up to 40 knots whilst charging conference freight rates. Clearly, such ships, when constructed, are likely to attract very high load factors and once established as safe and reliable may be able to charge a small premium over the rates charged for slower ships, thus enhancing operator profitability. Norasia have estimated a global requirement for at least 100 such ships over the next decade, and their order for 10 FFB vessels confirms the high level of demand. Higher speeds, up to 60 knots in ships with transatlantic range, are feasible using existing materials, machinery and propulsors. There are indications of demand for such vessels which would be capable of transporting relatively large consignments of freight across the Atlantic in approximately two days.

All of the work on the development of the vessels described in this paper was undertaken with significant financial support from Norasia Services SA of Fribourg, Switzerland. In particular thanks are due to Hans Steiger, the chairman of Norasia,


whose vision of the future of fast freight transportation by sea has culminated in the build of ten fast container ships and who continues to look to a future of even faster vessels. Thanks are also due to Dr Dan Hoffman of Norang and his untiring efforts to bring shipowner, shipbuilder and designer together to see these projects through to successful operation. Thanks and acknowledgements are due to Halter Marine Group of Gulfport, Mississippi for their financial support of the work on the 60 knot transatlantic freighter. The author is grateful to the research and experimental staff at Marintek in Trondheim, for their help and advice in finalising the hydrodynamic details on the design all of which have been tested at the Institute. Finally, thanks and acknowledgement are due to the staff at Nigel Gee and Associates Ltd, whose combined efforts have produced workable designs for fast freight vessels and especially to Eddie Dudson, Andy Tomlinson and Nick Humphry. The views expressed in this paper are those of the author and not necessarily those of the other organisations involved.


2.0 Fwd & Aft Sponsons Aft Sponsons Only 1.5 GMf (Both Cases) = 1.03m

Righting Arm GZ (m)



0.0 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40

-0.5 He el Angle (Degrees)


Progressive Heeling
Aft Sponsons Forward Sponsons

Upright - Zero Heel Angle

Small Heel Angle

Larger Heel Angles







12 T r a n s p o r t E f f i c ie n c y ( D W T . V s /P d * 1 0 0 0 )


B&V-FM157 8

Limit of Existing Concepts


TSL - A127 0 25 30 35

40 Vessel Speed (knots)







25000.0 24000.0 23000.0 22000.0 21000.0 Power Required at Propeller (kW) 20000.0 19000.0 18000.0 17000.0 16000.0 15000.0 14000.0 13000.0 12000.0 11000.0 10000.0 21 22 23 24 V e s s e l Spe e d (k nots ) 25 26 27 Marintek / NGA Prediction CONFIRMED BY TRIA LS HSV A - Prediction Contract Requirement






Efficiency : Payload x Speed / Power (kg.knot/kW)




200 Catamarans (Solid if Craf t in Service) 100 Monohulls (Solid if Craf t in Service)

0 25 30 35 Craft Spe e d (k nots ) 40 45 50