Hartel Shipping & Chartering, founded in 1990, and Hudig & Veder, a logistics service provider with a history going back to 1795, jointly provide a service trading breakbulk and project material between Northern European ports and the East Mediterranean. Combining each company’s strengths, they offer practically door-to-door shipping from basically any type of cargo which does not fit into a container.
For an expansion of the fleet, Hartel Shipping and Hudig & Veder established a Limited Partnership, along with several other investors with an affinity for the maritime industry. In 2010, this business alliance ordered four new vessels from Damen Shipyards Bergum. Hoogvliet is the fourth ship in this order. John Brobbel, managing director of Hartel Shipping: ”It is obvious that smaller vessels can call at smaller ports, although those of ours also call the ports of Antwerp, Hamburg and ports in the Baltic, starting from Rotterdam.”
The relatively small size of these ships makes them utterly suitable for the ‘parcel service’ offered by Hartel Shipping and Hudig & Veder. Typically, various project cargoes are picked up at several ports and unloaded as near to the destination as possible. The ships’ routes are dictated by the cargoes to be shipped, and the sailing area stretches from the far corners of the Baltic Sea all the way to the Black Sea, passing by the North Sea, the Atlantic and the Mediterranean Sea. The carried cargo covers a broad range including steel coils, large machinery equipment, windmill components, trucks, wood products, containers, bulk cargo and grain cargo.
The Hoogvliet is a ship of the type Combi Freighter 3850. Although through the years several improvements and alterations have taken place, it is considered still the same series which was started in 1985 with the Combi Coaster 125 (in those days, type numbers were based on the breadth, in centimetres). In this highly successful series, perhaps the longest running ship series worldwide, Hoogvliet is vessel number 75. The main changes through the years have been to increase the payload by making the ship lighter and increasing the draught. The designers at Damen Shipyards have always guarded to keep the payload over deadweight ratio optimal.
The hull of the vessel features a full bow and optimised aft sections, resulting in a good maintained speed through head seas. According to Remko Bouma, sales manager at Damen Shipyards, in real-life conditions the fuller bow sections ensure that the ship drives over waves rather than digging into them, which makes it easier to maintain speed. This translates to excellent fuel consumption figures and as a result the design complies with the required EEDI (Energy Efficiency Design Index) from the IMO. A further measure to reduce the fuel consumption and related emissions, consists of pre-heating the water for the tank heating system by recuperating waste heat from the main engine’s cooling water system. A diesel-fired boiler then further heats the water to the desired temperature.
Extensive CFD testing and towing tank tests have been done to optimise the hull. Another contributor to the excellent fuel consumption numbers can be found in the relatively large propeller of approximately 2.6 metre in diameter. The ship has excellent grain stability. This allows her to be fully loaded with grain – a cargo with a high and possibly shifting centre of gravity – without ballasting.
After taking the first ship into service, the owners made some modifications to the design for vessels three and four in the series. The range was increased by giving up some freshwater tank space in favour of HFO tanks. This is compensated by installing a reverse-osmosis freshwater maker, generating five m3 per day. As so much time is spent manoeuvring into and out of ports, the bowthruster capacity was increased from 320 kW to 380 kW. To maintain thrust even at a very light load, where a tunnel thruster would start to draw in air and loose efficiency, the thruster is a jet-type thruster from Veth. This type draws water from below the hull and directs it either to the port or starboard channel.
As the ship owner was very involved in the construction from the early stages, through their representative Peter Kroezen from Kroezen Shipsupport, it was possible to modify the standard vessel with custom solutions. For example, where usually the captain’s cabin would be found, on the boat deck just below the bridge, there is a changing room, a workshop and a cabin for a cadet. The captain’s cabin -with separate seating area and office – is located on the main deck instead, where ship motions are considerably less. In total, ten berths are provided for the crew, of which two in one room. Furthermore, each crew cabin has its own adjoining bathroom with toilet and shower. The safe manning document, issued by the Dutch flag, requires only a crew of six.
The biggest asset of Hoogvliet is its versatile cargo hold. To allow for project cargoes from small to extremely large, the hold is a single, almost entirely box-shaped, cargo hold. Furthermore, the owner opted for a full tween deck, which consists of pontoons that can be placed on horsehead-supports at mid-height in the cargo hold. Using pins in the sides of the hold, these pontoons can also be used as grain bulkheads. The tween deck sections can easily be handled by the hatch cover gantry crane to configure the hold precisely to the required spaces. When not in use, for example in container trade, the sections are stored against the forward bulkhead of the hold, on the tank top or on the hatch covers.
Although neither containers nor bulk goods will be regular cargoes from the current perspective, the hold is provided with all necessary fittings for those cargoes. Rubber inserts can be placed in the container fittings to create a flush tank top when carrying grain. The hold is equipped for carriage of all dangerous goods, except explosives. A CO2 fire extinguishing system is installed for protection of both the hold and the engine room. Due to the ‘parcel-service’ character of the business, lashing of cargo is a very frequent activity on board. For this purpose, just forward of the hold, a large lashing store is situated. Lashing materials can be lifted out with a davit on the gantry crane through a large deck hatch.
The Hoogvliet holds the class notation ‘loading/ unloading aground’. This particularity, also called NAABSA for ‘Not Always Afloat But Safely Aground’, allows for the cargo operations to continue also when the tide drops and the ship makes contact with the bottom, which in some ports in the UK is still a frequent occurrence.
The fact that Damen Shipyards continues to develop the Combi Freighter 3850 series is demonstrated by the fact that they installed, free of charge to the customer, an Optima propeller nozzle on Hoogvliet. Having identical ships trading with and without the nozzle will allow for an evaluation of the effects of the nozzle (smaller propeller but improved propeller loading) through a range of different reallife conditions. Both the Haringvliet and the Hoogvliet are equipped with measuring devices which monitor the fuel consumption 24/7. After a year of sailing, an accurate cost-benefit analysis will be made for the propeller nozzle.
Propulsion on Hoogvliet is with a single MaK main engine of type 8M 20C, resulting in a top speed – fully loaded – of 11.2 knots. This engine features a turbocharger and a dual fresh water cooling system. It runs on both HFO and gas oil and is coupled to a controllable pitch propeller (CPP). With the CPP, the engine’s rpm can be kept constant, allowing for electrical power production through the Stamford shaft generator (and thus on HFO), rather than through the separate diesel-driven generator set. The cooling is with two service pumps circulating the (fresh) cooling water for the heat exchangers through box coolers in the sides. Although exhaust treatment is not provided, space is available for scrubbers should it be needed later on.
For ballast water treatment, the same applies. The convention on BWT is not ratified yet and it is expected that ballast water treatment systems will still make strong technological progress in the years to come. Hence, it is not built-in for the moment, but the space is reserved for a later retro-fit if needed. Ballasting or de-ballasting can be done in five hours with two bilge/ballast pumps rated at 150 m3 each.
The electrical installation was done by Alewijnse Marine, which also supplied the navigation and communication equipment through their new subsidiary called Admarel. A notable inclusion is the V-SAT broadband satellite internet connection, which is an essential link between the ship and the management on shore.
The hull for Hoogvliet was built at Damen Shipyards Galati in Romania, and then transported to Damen Bergum for outfitting. Typically, the build time amounts to 18 months, of which four to six months are spent outfitting in the Netherlands. Because of the Damen philosophy to build ships ‘for stock’, the delivery time of a new vessel can be well below the actual build time. Another advantage is that all major components are usually also in stock for quick delivery to a ship in service.
Such is the confidence that Damen Shipyards Bergum has in this product, that they offer their cargo vessels with a two-year warranty. Besides the commercial advantage, this allows the yard to detect problems which occur after the first year. This translates to improvements on consecutive ships in the series.
Damen Shipyards Bergum was established in 1955 and acquired from Bodewes by the Damen Shipyards Group in 1985. In the Damen Group, it is the division responsible for the design and construction of short and deep-sea cargo vessels, oil tankers and offshore logistic vessels. Currently the yard’s 90 employees build on average seven to eight vessels a year, mainly dry cargo vessels and oil tankers up to 14,000 dwt. Because of low bridges downstream from the yard, the entire accommodation and foredeck structure are placed temporarily on deck for outfitting. Only after the vessel is transferred to Harlingen, the accommodation is placed back and welded to the deck, followed by the connection of pipes and cables between hull and superstructure. Through years of experience, this has become a standard procedure for the yard. At the shipyard, a new Combi Freighter 3850 is currently under construction for delivery this summer, and a new hull has arrived which can be completed in a short time span.