NKK has developed an ax-shaped bow that allows 20-30% reduction in ships' sea margin compared with conventional bows. Having completed practical application tests using ship models, NKK is set to fit the new bow to a 172,000-DWT Capesize bulk carrier now under construction at its Tsu Works for Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL).
In response to growing calls from shipping operators for a ship with greater propulsion effect even under rough sea conditions, NKK focused on how to reduce a ship's resistance on the bow above the still water surface. In 1996, teaming with Osaka University marine engineering researchers, NKK developed a sharp-edged bow, which proved effective in cutting through the waves thus reducing the sea margin. The new bow was named the "Ax-Bow." NKK has continued model tests of the Ax-Bow with partial funding from the Ship & Ocean Foundation, and confirmed that the Ax-Bow can reduce ships' sea margin by 20-30%.
MOL's bulk carrier with the first model of the Ax-Bow will be delivered in June 2001. With the cooperation of MOL, NKK intends to collect performance data after the ship is put into service and plans to install the Ax-Bow in other vessels.