The recent bulk carrier forum entitled ‘The Bulk Carrier for the Future’ attracted more than 150 senior executives from the Greek shipping community. Speakers covered the safety and efficiency of modern bulk carriers and whether they are fit for their purpose. Intercargo’s representative expressed concern that the bulk-carrier casualty rate in 2001 is proving no better than the average over the past 10 years. It was stated that the additional safety measures introduced by IMO and IACS in 1998-99 has not yet had the desired effect.
From the shoreside viewpoint, questions were raised why bulk carriers are not designed for safe, efficient loading and unloading. Recent years have seen considerable development in terminals’ cargo-handling capabilities, which have not been matched by similar developments in bulker design. It was suggested that future vessels should be provided with double side shells, which would significantly reduce unloading time and cost as well as reducing risks of damage to the vessels themselves. DNV’s representatives reviewed the most pressing current issues, and the pros and cons of the available design options. They discussed ballast-system design, double side skins, and the prevention of progressive collapse following hold flooding.