Bulk carrier and oil tanker ship construction


Types of Ships discussed: Bulk Carriers & Oil Tanker

Here I discuss about two types of ships which are bulk carrier and oil tanker. The pictorial explanation gives general difference between both the vessels.

Bulk Carriers:

The name itself says that they carry products in bulk quantities. Ex: Edible commodities, raw materials and finished steel products. Bulk carriers can be with or without cargo gear. Those without will use the shore gear for cargo operations. The construction will be usually single or double hull with DB’s and TST’s. & Side hopper tanks. During rough weathers the ballast is taken into the cargo hold so that CG comes down there by minimizing the stresses. Cargo grabs can enter easily due to wide opening of cargo hold. The excessive cutting area reduces deck strength, but suitably compensated with the hatch coaming structure. Pontoons will cover the cargo hold & will differ in size, shape and operation depends on manufacturer. Pillars with deck girders supported by brackets and beams will take the weight of pontoons. The tanks tops are strong enough to bearstresscaused by bulldozers or bob cats when they operate to collect cargo in cargo holds.


Tankers are designed to carry liquid cargos in bulk quantities depending on their size. The entire cargo operation will be through pipe lines. For carrying cargo operations they have to call berths fitted with chicksen or hoses. Smaller tankers usually used to supply bunkers and lube oils to the bigger vessels at anchorages. The vessels that carry gas also called as tankers. In shipping world tankers constitutes 35% tonnage presently. Tankers vary in size. From 500 GT to the world’s ultra large crude carrier MT. Hellespont Alhambra with dwt of 441, 585. This type of ultra large tankers usually carry crude from the point of production to the refineries. The size and number of the cargo tanks will vary from ship to ship depending on the size and construction of the vessel. The divisions of the tanks are made possible by both longitudinal and transverse bulkheads with strengthened frames and corrugations to give extra strength to the bulkheads. These bulkheads in turn reduce racking stresses and prevent fire and flooding to progress to the other part of the vessel.

The role function and general layout of bulk carrier and Tanker are explained above.

Structural differences of Bulk carrier and Oil Tanker as follows:

Structural FeatureBulk CarrierOil Tanker
Cargo Hold openingsLarge cargo hold openingsSmall opening to enter cargo hold
Cargo OperationBy Ship/Shore gear, Sling, suit or conveyorBy pipe line
AppearencePipelines all around deckComparatively less pipelines
Cargo gear when fittedCranes, DerricksUsually one or two mid ship cranes
Extra MachineryDoesn’t require extra machineryInert Gas, Separate pump room
Construction of HullNot CompulsoryDouble Hull Compulsory
Cat walksFitted Athwart shipFitted longitudinally
Cargo Tank CleaningEasyComparatively different and COW washing
Company’s permissionNo need to obtain permission to enter in cargo hold. (Risk Assessment Carried out)Permission from company is mandatory, (Risk Assessment Carried out)

Panting and Pounding arrangements as expressed below: (Diagrams Attached)

Panting : The force exerted on ships side plating due to the vessels rising and falling due to waves is called panting. The bow part experience more pressure as compared to stern. Panting beams, stringers and deep floors will make the vessel to overcome this problem.

Pounding : During excessive pitching the fore foot bottom plating will slam the water with high force which is called as pounding. It could be because of excessive speed, much stern trim or too little ballast. By increasing the bottom plate thickness, longitudinal framings, transverse frames with side girders and more side frames helps the vessel to withstand these stresses.

Regional Stresses affecting Bulk Carriers: (Diagrams Attached)

Care to be taken always while loading and continuous monitoring for hogging and sagging. Sagging comes in the areas where more weight and hogging comes in the area of less weight. Uneven distribution of weight could lead the ship breaking into two. However even after loading to even keel still the vessel experiences this problem due to the waves. During rough weather extra care to be taken as the high raising waves provides extra buoyancy.

Transverse Stress: These are caused due to force exerted from cargo or structural weights or motion in sea way which in turn affects the ships cross sectional area.

Racking: Rolling causes ship’s deck to move laterally when compared to bottom thereby causing the side shells to move vertically relative to each other

At any given time the stresses on board should be within the limits of harbor and sea going conditions as given in loadicator.

College Hand out, Moodle. stc. uk
Classroom Running Notes
Merchant ship construction by D. A. Tailor 3rd edition 1992
Merchant ship construction by P. J. Pursey 7th edition Glasgow 1983
Safe Tanker Operations by Capt. K. S. D. Mistree, A Marinez Publication

There are other stresses which are equally important to discuss but due to the word restriction I was unable to discuss in this assignment. The Diagrams are enclosed separately to this assignment which most of the stress are explanatory.