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Bulkers With Double Skin

While double hull tankers have proved their merit beyond doubt, studies are in hand to improve the level of safety in the design and construction of bulkers. Accordingly SOLAS Chapter XII – Additional Safety Measure for Bulk Carriers has been brought into force from 1 July 1999. This has stipulated two main recommendations which are to be followed within a time bound program according to the age of the ship, as follows: -

  • All new building single side skin bulkers of length 150m and more, carrying cargo of density 100 kg/m3 and above, such as grains, and timber, should have the strength to withstand flooding of any one cargo hold.

  • For existing ships carrying cargo of density 1780 kg/m3 and above, such as iron ore, pig iron, bauxite, cement etc. the transverse watertight bulkhead between the two foremost cargo holds and double bottoms of the foremost cargo holds, should be able to withstand pressure of water ingress and the related dynamic effect.

A single skinned bulker is subject to all three forms of attack viz., corrosion, fatigue and mechanical damage. The most vulnerable area is the watertight bulkhead between forward hold and the second hold, including the double bottom of the ship at this location. The critical age for the bulkers is considered between 14 to 18 years, where most of the damage has been observed statistically. These bulkers now constituting a large tonnage of the world fleet will require substantial investment in hull work, if they are to be kept going in service. A question will always be asked, whether the recommendation made in SOLAS Chapter XII and Enhanced Survey Program made mandatory, is enough to make bulkers a safe house.

Studies are in hand and various theories are being propounded and we may see emergence of Double Skin Bulkers in not so distant a future.






IC Engine Condition

Double Skin Bulkers

Quality Management

Electronic Navigation Charts - by Captain Raj S. Chakravorty,