Saturday, January 10, 2009

New ships are fine, need new attitude

No less than 41 engineering position are advertised on BC Ferries corporate website. In comparison, there is ten deck and four catering position similarly advertised. Obviously there is a major problem with the way the organization is approaching this dilemma. Regardless of what corporate says or the union does, their seems to be a glaring message sent from the engineering department of the corp.

This major hurdle may be whats behind a string of constant news about various ferries breaking down, and numerous operational delays. The latest being the new Coastal Inspiration, with steering gear issues. The venerable "Cow" (Queen of Cowichan), probably my favorite boat of the fleet, (don't ask me why, as I have no idea, I'm just weird that way) came to the rescue and replaced the Inspiration on its Nanaimo (Duke pt) to Tsawassen run.

Judging from various comments and grumblings in local engineering circles, the three new "Coastal" ships are not without issues. The various "teething pains" is keeping local Nanaimo Shipyard, on contract from German FSG Shipyards in Flensburg, quite busy doing waranty work on the three new vessels. One issue that has come up, is the engine room ventilation, critical to the proper cooling of the electric propulsion system, is suffering some breakdowns. Seems the fans utilized were designed for axial mounting not vertical, therefore bearings are wearing out prematurely. Sources tell me that the waranty work includes the replacement of the bearings, yes, the original design... mmmm.

The mechanical problems, I suspect, will continue. With BC Ferries aggresively advertising for engineers for quite some time now, but obviously the shortage and breakdowns persist. Suggesting that a fundamental change in attitude toward engineers, their conditions and training is needed at HQ.

One other issue that I foresee being a major upcoming hurdle for the new ships, and its manning department, is the fact that very few electricians apropriately trained exist in Canada for diesel electric propulsion systems. This was a topic I raised here several years ago, and numerous control issues have allready reared their head. I predict the electrical / electronic issues will only get critical in time, as systems come up for maintenance and parts replacements. With the obvious inability to attract engineers, there is an even more remote chance of finding appropriately experienced marine electrician and control technician. A trade that does not even have Transport Canada standards.

Its not all bad news for BC Ferries, the German shipyard continues to build another ship for BC Ferries, the Northern Expedition. It is set to leave the German shipyard at the end of the month bound for British Columbia. The Island Sky, a new intermediate ferry designed and built by Washington Marine Group's Vancouver Shipyards, was delivered and entered service on the Sunshine Coast this past December.

Perhaps the reason the corporation is ignoring the "men down below" is the fact that the local media is always watching their every step, so they are probably more concern about paint schemes and public opinion than steering gears and circuit breakers. An interesting article came accross my desktop last month (but I have had no time to elaborate here due to license upgrading) was from the left leaning The Tyee paper. This article is typical of the media fluff thrown about, which brings to mind, the squeeky wheels gets the grease attitude, a hallmark of the disastrous time in power of the political party NDP.

I suspect that BC Ferries management's biggest hurddle was this type of intrenched attitude, in and outside the ranks. The teething pains of the new ship are really not that significant compared to the transition from a Crown corporation, and its numerous and fat layers of bureaucracy, to a the semi private company it is now - or wants to become.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Clash of the Titans

13,800 teu capacity MSC Daniela enters service
Craig Eason, 23 December 2008 Lloyds List

AS REPORTED in Lloyd’s List last week, Mediterranean Shipping Co has taken possession of its largest containership to date.

The post-panamax MSC Daniela has the capacity to carry 13,800 teu. This is over 2,500 teu more than the published capacity of Emma Maersk, which gained so much attention when it was launched two years ago.

MSC Daniela is the first of eight being built by Samsung Heavy Industries in Korea for the shipowner. But despite the increased nominal capacity, MSC Daniela is 32 m shorter, narrower by 5.2 m and of a similar depth to Emma Maersk.

Classed by Germanischer Lloyd, the vessel has seven main cargo holds and deck connections for 1,000 40 ft reefer containers.

The most visible difference between the two is that MSC Daniela has a ‘twin island’ configuration. While leaving the engine room area aft, the narrow accommodation and bridge housing has been brought forward.

Safety of Life at Sea regulations stipulate how far forward of the vessel the sea must be visible from the bridge. On the majority of containerships with the single superstructure much further aft, the result is a tapering of container stack heights to achieve this. By bringing the bridge further forward, this leaves the majority of the stacks, which are now aft of the bridge, able to be loaded higher.

The vessel has also been built using a higher-tensile steel, allowing plate thickness to be reduced to give a more lightweight construction. Germanischer Lloyd said the design allows less bending and increased hull stiffness.

The vessel’s fuel tanks, in keeping with the latest regulations, are fitted inside a protected area beneath the deck house. The aft engine room also means a shorter propeller shaft and therefore more of the potential 98,280 bhp from the 12-cylinder MAN B&W engine transferred to the propeller — a six-bladed Mecklenburger weighing 93.8 tonnes in front of a Becker-type rudder.

The split accommodation and engine room will mean further distances for the engineers to go when alarms sound during unmanned periods, and also more systems cabling between the two areas.

Germanischer Lloyd said the vessel’s design requires less ballast water, and it has been designed to have ballast treatment fitted.

Notably, with less width and length than Emma Maersk and AP Moller-Maersk’s other E-class vessels, MSC Daniela, while still being post-panamax by today’s scale, is designed to be able to traverse the Panama Canal when the new locks are completed. The new lock’s chambers will be 427 m long, 55 m wide and 18.3 m deep.

Germanischer Lloyd said that containerships can be built with larger capacities, but added that the market, rather than technology, was the driving force in this decision.

MSC Daniela
Built SHI, Korea, 2008
Owner MSC
Length overall 366 m
Width 51.2 m
Height of hull 29.9 m
Gross tonnage 150,350
Main engine MAN B&W 12K98MC-C (98,280 hp)
Auxiliary power 4 x STX 7L32/40
Claimed teu capacity 13,800


Emma Maersk
Built Odense, Denmark 2006
Owner AP Moller-Maersk
Length overall 398 m
Width 56.4 m
Height of hull 30.2 m
Gross tonnage 170,974
Main engine Wärtsilä 14RT-Flex96c, 80,080 kW (109,000 hp)
Auxiliary power 5 x Caterpillar 8M32
Claimed teu capacity 11,000

Check out a list of the largest container ships in the world. Oddly enough, MSC has no news release of their new vessel. Pictures from various online sources. Below is another article on the ship.

Worlds largest ship?

19 December 2008, by Matthew Beddow

The MSC Daniela was officially named today in Geoje , South Korea . With a declared capacity of 13,800 TEU , it is larger than the official capacity of Maersk Line's E-Class vessels (11,000 TEU), making it the biggest container vessel in the world.

The point is highly debateable, as many believe Maersk's stated capacity of its vessels to be grossly under-declared. According to CI's rough calculations, their capacity is at least 13,600 TEU , but AXS Alphaliner estimates it to be as high as 15,212 TEU . Much depends on how many containers can be loaded on deck without infringing 'line of sight' rules from the bridge.

To assist the crew see better ahead, MSC Daniela's bridge is placed much further forward than those of Maersk's seven E-Class vessels, and its engine room separated at the back. The design, which was approved and classified by Hamburg-based Germanischer Lloyd, ensures that less ballast water is required, as reduced bending, as well as increased stiffness, could be built into the hull design. Less space below deck has also been lost due to the propeller's drive shaft being much shorter.

On the other hand, with an overall length 366m, the MSC Daniela is 31.6m shorter than Maersk's vessels, and its breadth (51.2m) is 5.2m less.

Seven similar ships are due to be delivered to MSC by South Korea 's Samsung Heavy Industry in 2009. As usual, little has been given away by MSC as to where these will be deployed. At present, the MSC Daniela is scheduled to enter its Jade service between the Far East and Mediterranean . This deployed a fleet of nine vessels averaging 6,412 TEU on July 1, 2008 , however the MSC Sola (11,660 TEU ) has since drafted in.

Yard: Samsung Heavy Industry
Length over all: 365.50 m
Breadth moulded: 51.20 m
Deadweight at Tonnage: 165,300 tonnes
Service speed: 24.1 kn
Draught: 16 m
Capacity: 13,,800 TEU
Crew: 30 p.

Mediterranean Shipping Company S.A (MSC) of Geneva, Switzerland is the worlds largest privately owned and operated shipping line with a worldwide fleet of over 420 vessels around the globe. As a family owned and operated company MSC Daniela was named after the daughter of Mr Giuseppe Prudente, MSC Geneva’s Logistics Manager.