No 8 MbH December 2012 voor website.jpg 50 1Despite the challenging times in the Dutch shipbuilding industry, Bodewes Shipyards’ ethic is to invest significantly in the development of their vessels. Their philosophy is that the market dictates the configuration of ships and not vice versa, unlike a lot of other shipyards. Consequently, a changing market requires evolving designs to keep pace with the changes.

Based on this conviction, Bodewes developed the ECO Trader with a deadweight of 8,700 tons, for their client. The ECO Trader is designed by Bodewes’ own design team and has a Groot crossbow. For this purpose Bodewes collaborated with Groot Ship Design in Leek, the spiritual father of the Groot Crossbow. After the mv UAL Africa and mv UAL Bodewes, the mv UAL Houston is the third vessel in a series of five vessels to be delivered to UAL.

The naming and launch ceremony of the mv UAL Houston took place on 1 November 2012 at Bodewes Shipyards in Hoogezand. The vessel was handed over to Nescos Shipping in early December and will be transporting a wide range of cargo for the Universal Africa Lines (UAL) in Capelle aan den IJssel, the Netherlands. The mv UAL Houston will primarily be deployed on the trade routes between West Africa and North America.

Bodewes Shipyards, Universal Africa Lines and Nescos Shipping

Bodewes Shipyards BV is situated along the Winschoterdiep in Hoogezand and member of the Royal Bodewes Group. The shipyard was founded in 1812 and focuses on designing and building ships according to market demands, based on the principles of quality, reliability, flexibility and Dutch craftsmanship. On 30 november 2012, Bodewes was awarded with the predicate ‘Royal’. Bodewes built the mv UAL Houston for Nescos Shipping, also established in Hoogezand and related to to the Royal Bodewes Group. The vessel is the longest vessel ever built by Bodewes at their Hoogezand premises.

After successful sea trials, mv UAL Houston was added to the fleet of Universal Africa Lines, who will be responsible for the operational management of the vessel, on 12 December 2012. UAL is specialised in break bulk and project cargoes. They provide conventional liner services from U.S. Gulf to West Africa, from Europe to West Africa and from West Africa to South America, U.S. Gulf and Europe.

The general concept of the Bodewes ECO Trader

In response to the market, Bodewes Shipyards developed a type of ship, that is able to load and transport cargo parcels in an economically and environmentally sound way. MV UAL Houston has two cargo holds: the forward measures 25.50 x 13.20 metres and tapers a little at the forward end to accommodate the bow shape, whilst the aft compartment is fully ‘box-shaped’ with main dimensions of 65.25 x 13.20 metres. Both holds have a height of 10.20 metres, allowing containers to be stacked in three layers or to load (odd-sized) large project cargo.

No 8 MbH December 2012 voor website.jpg 50 2Both holds are equipped with ample ventilation, permitting up to twelve air changes per hour. This allows most common types of cargo to be transported under optimal conditions. The forward hold is approved for IMO 1, allowing safe transport of explosives. Specifically for dangerous cargoes, the main deck hatch covers of this hold are equipped with an integrated sprinkler system, which can be connected to the Storz couplings on deck.

For the transport of smaller project cargo, it is possible to divide both holds over the full length in two by means of tween deck panels. The tween deck panels can also be used vertically as (grain) bulkheads, so different cargoes can be separated from each other. The numerous recessed lashing points on four levels in the sides of the holds, as well above as below the tween deck level, provide even more flexibility in cargo storage and lashing.

The less you burn, the more you earn

Between the two holds lies a cofferdam compartment with three separate HFO bunker tanks, an overflow tank and the ventilation ducts for both holds. Because of the location of the HFO storage, the filling levels of the tanks have minimal effect on the trim of the vessel. To be able to create a totally unobstructed main deck area of 93.25 x 16 metres for large project cargo, the ventilation equipment on top of the cofferdam compartment can be removed.

The deck space, between the forward bulkhead of the accommodation and the aft hold, with a length of 8.65 metres, can be used for deck cargo or containers. This deck space can also be utilised for storage of tween deck panels.

Specific design features of the Bodewes ECQ Trader

The key technology of the Bodewes ECO Trader is its newly developed bow. The shape of the bow means it takes less effort to maintain speed in rough sea states with a heavy swell. The new bow shape literally cuts through the waves and the pitch and heave movements of the ship are considerably reduced compared to a conventional flared bow. To complement the optimised hull shape, special attention has been paid to the design of the propulsion plant and the propeller design. Therefore, the mv UAL Houston has high propulsion efficiency with exceptionally low levels of vibration and noise in the accommodation.

No 8 MbH December 2012 voor website.jpg 50 3The advantages of reduced accelerations and a ‘smoother ride’, seen from the ship owner’s point of view, are obvious: lower fuel consumption, emission of harmful exhaust gases is greatly reduced and less cargo damage will occur. Viewed from the crew’s perspective, it enables them to perform their duties even better at a higher comfort level and they can deliver cargo according to schedule, even in challenging weather conditions. An additional advantage of the new Groot Crossbow shape is, that the forecastle deck is now covered, protecting not only the anchoring and mooring equipment, but also the cargo on the hatches against ‘green water’. Bodewes also paid a lot of attention on providing ample storage space; the frames in forepeak for example have their flanges upward for that reason, thus providing a fiddle preventing stored equipment from sliding off.

No 8 MbH December 2012 voor website.jpg 50 4The evolution

As stated above, the mv UAL Africa and mv UAL Bodewes were the first two vessels in this ECO Trader series. As might be expected from Bodewes Shipyards, they have learned from the feedback and the practical experience of the crew of these vessels. They used that information on the mv UAL Houston and integrated new innovations and variations into this third vessel. Consequently the ship was also extended by 8.25 metres resulting in an increase of deadweight of almost 500 tons and a larger hold capacity/ volume (more than 1,100 m3 was added). A higher wheelhouse increases the container intake capacity on deck. At the same time fuel consumption remains unchanged at eleven tons per 24 hour running, at 13 knots.


The wheelhouse console is arranged in a T-shape and features all required instruments, like combined ECDIS and radar screens. Attention has been paid to making the bridge layout as ergonomic as possible, allowing the crew to concentrate on a safe and efficient crossing. The nautical equipment is very comprehensive and includes a state-of-the-art e-mail system and a satellite compass. All the critical systems are designed with dual-redundancy and good access for maintenance to all equipment is provided.

To meet the needs of today’s crews the accommodation of mv UAL Houston is spacious and decorated in a light colour. As considerable attention has been paid to the minimisation of noise and vibration, the living spaces are thus very quiet and comfortable. The entire accommodation is heated or cooled by means of a central air conditioning unit, only the wheelhouse, the switchboard room and the galley have separate independently adjustable controllable units. Much attention has been paid to the accessibility of the ship to comply with the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code (ISPS-code) of SOLAS, thus making it more suitable for high risk (piracy) areas.

Propulsion and electrical system

The engine room has a very spacious layout and all components are easily accessible for maintenance. A multi-fuel 6-cylinder MaK diesel engine, type 6M32C, is the heart of the Bodewes ECO Trader, providing 2,999 kW at MCR and designed to run on IFO380. As a result of the smart hull design, only a 6-cylinder version is required, instead of the usual 8-cylinder engine a ship of this size would need.

No 8 MbH December 2012 voor website.jpg 50 5The power is transferred, through a single gearbox and a relatively short shaft, to a high-skew propeller with a diameter of 3.90 metres, which is exceptionally large for her draught. This propeller, designed and delivered by Berg Propulsion, is optimised for efficient propulsion at a low rpm with minimisation of pressure pulses. For steering and manoeuvring a Benes flap rudder with an extra slim profile is fitted. The special flap construction gives a high lifting force for the relatively small rudder. The bow thruster is a traditional tunnel thruster, driven by an electric motor of 300 kW, supplied by ZF Marine. Due to the improved hull shape of the fore ship, the length of the tunnel is very short, thus increasing the efficiency of the transverse thruster.

No 8 MbH December 2012 voor website.jpg 50 6The electrical installation is designed in such a way, that only a single shaft generator of 452 kVA is required while at sea. The capacity of this shaft generator is enough for a voyage with refrigerated containers on board and even then it still has power available to drive the bow thruster. In addition, three Scania DI12 auxiliary sets of 265 kW each and Sisu emergency generator of 96 kW are provided. The size of the sets has been calculated to match the demands of the ship’s load plus the use of the cranes. The entire electrical system is designed and built by Alewijnse Marine Systems.

No 8 MbH December 2012 voor website.jpg 50 7The ship has double (redundant) day and settling tanks and several fuel storage tanks in different sizes, to keep fuels with different sulphur levels effectively separated. Provisions have been made for future installation of a ballast water treatment unit: additional connections to the ballast system and special ballast pumps are installed, electrical preparations have been supplied and space reservations have been made. As icing on the cake the cooling water system of the main engine is fitted with a heat exchanger and no boiler is needed during the voyage, because the recovered heat can be used for domestic purposes. The (IFO380) fuel oil system can also be heated by the hot water system. Wolfard & Wessels Werktuigbouw delivered the complete system engineering and installation of the engine room.

Bodewes Group awarded with the predicate ‘Royal’
On Friday, 30 November 2012, the Bodewes Group was awarded with the predicate ‘Royal’ and
from now on is known by the name ‘Royal Bodewes Group BV’. The official certificate was presented
to managing director Herman Bodewes and director Johan Schouwenaar by her Majesty’s
provincial governor, Mr. Max van den Berg. The ceremony took place right on the quayside next to
mv UAL Houston, which will be delivered to her new owners on 12 December 2012.
The title ‘Royal’ is the crown on Bodewes’ 200th anniversary. Geert Joosten Bodewes founded
the company in 1812 and at that time they built flat-bottomed sailing vessels. In approximately
1900, the yard started producing steamships and today Bodewes is famous for their ECO Traders,
a series of multipurpose vessels with deadweights up to 14,000 DWT.
The royal predicate represents more than just the impressive Bodewes history. Companies can
only be eligible for the title if they show reliable financial conduct, technical innovativeness and
the highest quality in products in the past and present. Exactly these qualities, in combination
with their experienced and motivated employees, made Bodewes a successful yard, supplying
hundreds of vessels for various purposes.

Deck lay-out

The mv UAL Houston is equipped with two NMF deck cranes with a safe working load of 60 tons and 40 tons at an outreach of 16 metres, respectively 25 metres. As a result of careful design and placement, the cranes can be used in tandem by means of a special spreader. In this configuration they can lift 120 tons over a wide range. For this purpose the vessel is equipped with a special spreader which is suitable for lifting of such ‘odd-size luggage’. For the transport of reefer containers on deck, a total of 50 connection sockets are created: 15 of which are at the front of the deckhouse, 15 near the aft deck crane and 20 amidships on the cofferdam compartment.

The vessel has two horizontal windlass installations, delivered by SEC, with a double drum, gipsy and warping head on forecastle deck, for anchoring and mooring activities. On the aft deck there are two more horizontal windlass, also with a double drum and warping head for mooring purposes; for working the stern anchor the starboard side installation has an additional cable drum. At the stern we also find the required life-saving and rescue equipment, consisting of a freefall lifeboat, rescue boat and life rafts. This lay-out is completed with a deck crane for lowering and recovery of the life boat, recovery of the life rafts and other light lifting purposes.

Economy and environmental care as a joint venture

During the design and construction of mv UAL Houston a great deal of attention has been paid to the whole coating system, especially with a view to the long term. The ship has an IWS (In Water Survey) class notation, so the intermediate dockings can be skipped. Furthermore, the paint system of the underwater hull is attuned to the areas where the ship will operate. The SeaQuantum Ultra antifouling system of Jotun is particularly suitable for warm climates and thus also contributes to the fuel-saving features of the ship.

WMN 50 8

Tom Oomkens