VLCC Repair Work Unlikely To Dry Up
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VLCC Repair Work Unlikely To Dry Up


International Maritime Organisation (IMO) rules, contained in the Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (Marpol), require that 30 years single hull tankers must stop carrying oil and tankers between the ages of 25 and 30 years to adopt one of four measures. The options are: Hydrostatically Balanced Loading (HBL), Protective Location Solution (PLS) , double bottom tanks over 30 per cent of the length of the cargo tanks or segregated ballast tanks (SBT) as built into the single hull VLCCs built in the early nineties. HBL allows sufficient space above oil cargoes to ensure that, if the ship is holed below the waterline in a grounding, seawater enters the tank rather than allowing oil flow out. It is also argued that all options but HBL are too expensive for general use by the older, pre-Marpol ships. Arguments are SBT ships have developed cracks or have suffered severe tank bottom pitting leading to leaks. This could mean a lot of work for the repair yards as many ships would need modifications, particularly to prevent sloshing. The crucial aspect is that the nineties built fleet of single hull VLCCs are experiencing considerable problems. It was often assumed that VLCC repair work would diminish as the first generation ships were replaced. That may not be so after all. Moreover, the current generation of double hull ships are not without their problems, which can only become more troublesome as the ships get older. Maybe the repair yards should only really start worrying if many owners start copying the new Stena VLCC design which is specifically intended to spend very little time in dock.
Full article by: David Hughes, Shipping Times To express your views please visit our Discussion Forum


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