Search This Blog

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Columbus splashing waves !!!

The great navigator, colonizer and explorer from Italy who voyages across the Atlantic led to the discovery of American continents is making news on the waves again. Ocean is always interesting. Just as one sits on the beach and watches the waves - one can think of innumerable things. What made man venture into the unfathomed sea and how he conquered it will always remain a wonder.

Even in modern days, the movement of goods between Countries - how the market is identified, the logistics, the days involved, the packing, the containers - all are quite perplexing. In this part of the world, there are not much of container ships – those big ships stacked with containers all over are a treat to watch. I had shared something on MSC Daniela during Jan 2010. In case you are interested in reading the same, do click MSC Daniela It was an extraordinary vessel not only in terms of size but also in its design aspects; it was stated to be biggest containership ever classed by Germanischer Lloyd (GL). Its design brought infamy of a ugly ship because of a new feature of positioning of bridge not above the main engine but in the foreship.

Now the arrival of a vessel prompted the discussion on deepening the fairway of Lower and outer Elbe. The stake holders though satisfied with the productivity of the Container terminal wanted the river to be deepened to handle bigger ships. This is the port known as Gateway to the world covering an area of 74 km² The news is about the Port of Hamburg on the river Elbe and the vessel which prompted all the discussions was Christophe Colomb.

CMA CGM is the world’s third largest container shipping company and is ranked number one in France. This Group had 389 ships plying on 170 routes; handled 7.9 million TEU in 2009. This Group has added to the explosion in size of containerships, though touted as a period of recession, falling freight and other troubles. Perhaps an indication of the belief that very large ships are still profit worthy even if they are inflexible for redeployment in some routes. Manning huge ships poses added problems of berths, on whether the approach channels would be sufficiently deep and other navigational impediments. There could be difficulty in finding market – the sufficient no. of boxes for single shipment, still the economies of scale would prevail.

The debate for the claim to the biggest containership would continue to rage on. It is difficult to determine as some operators keep the capacity closed guarded secret. The capacity varies with the weight of the containers. By some yardsticks, MSC Beatrice was considered second largest in capacity. She has a max capacity of 137998 TEU (twenty foot equivalent unit) and length of 366 M. Emma Maersk would easily beat her with 400 M but Emma Owners using a different basis of calculation claim only 13500 TEU. Ebba Maersk has capacity of 11000 TEU but by standard definition can hold 14770 going by physical space and not weight. Her length is 397 M (1302 ft).

The new arrival of another giant owned by CMA CGM emerging from Korean Shipbuilders has stirred enough interest among all the players. This is the first of 8 to descend on international waters. This CMA CGM flagship has a profile of bridge and accommodation 1/3rd of the length from forward rather than on top of the machinery space. This ship is 365 M in length, beam of 51.2 M and fully laden draught of 15.5 M . Her owners claim that as well as being hugely efficient, their record breaker is particularly “green” from the rudder and propeller arrangements which are notably efficient, to the electronically controlled engine, which can operate safely and economically at low speeds. Fuel tanks are also strategically located away from the ship side and bottom.

CMA CGM took delivery of this giant during Nov09 in South Korea ; few days back at Le Havre the vessel was christened ”Christophe Colomb” by Christine Lagarde, France’s Minister of Economic affairs, Industry and Employment. The official of CMA CGM was quoted as saying that the new giant of the seas is a strategic asset for CMA CGM while volumes and freight rates on the Asia to Europe market are recovering. It is claimed that the vessel is equipped with a Pre-Swirl Stator, a device which helps increase in propulsion efficiency. The new engine is capable of operation at super eco speed of 14 to 15 knots. The tanks of the vessel are located underneath the superstructure and are protected by the double hull of the vessel. The vessel is to start its rotation in Shanghai from Nov and then move on to Ningbo and would call on Rotterdam by December. The vessel is the first of the series of 3 which are named after great explorers. Christophe Colomb is the largest container ship ever to sail under French flag.

Here are some technical details of the vessel :
Port of Registry: Marseille, France
Ship Type: Cargo - Hazard A (Major)
Length x Breadth: 365 m X 52 m
Speed recorded (Max / Average): 21 / 18.2 knots
Flag: France [FR]
Call Sign: FNUY
IMO: 9453559, MMSI: 228315600
DWT : 157092; GT 153022
TEU 13344 of which 800 are Reefers

After Christophe Colomb, the subsequent vessels would be named after Marco Polo, Vasco de Gama, Amerigo Vespucci, Corte Real, La Pérouse, Magellan and Zheng. Here are some photos of this monster

With regards – S. Sampathkumar 

Photo courtesy :
PS : this is a non commercial blog – written with interest of sharing with group of my friends.

1 comment:

  1. Really gigantic. Wonder why these vessels do not come to India - Raja