Bulkcarriers ("bulkers"), are the great work horses of the shipping world, carrying raw dry cargoes in huge cavernous holds, such as coal, iron ore, grain, sulphur, scrap metal. Until recently, there had been a huge demand for these vessels, driven by the extraordinary expansion of the Chinese economy. Imports of iron ore into China boosted the earnings of bulk carrier owners as freight rates went through the roof into uncharted territory. For a 'Capesize' bulkcarrier, daily hire rates of over $280,000 per day were recorded. Then came the downturn in late 2008 and freight rates have slumped, with bulkcarriers struggling to be fixed above $20,000 ! - quite a dramatic change in only a few months. Unfortunately, huge numbers of these vessels were ordered from shipyards during the 'boom' times. Taking about 2 years to build, many of these new ships will be delivered only to be sent probably straight to lay-up, as no work can be found for them.
Tankers are designed to carry liquid cargoes (not just oil) although the carriage of crude oil has brought the tanker unwelcome attention and largely unjustified criticism. Oil tankers come in two basic flavours, the crude carrier, which carries crude oil, and the clean products tanker, which carries the refined products, such as petrol, gasolene, aviation fuel, kerosene and paraffin. Tankers range in all sizes, from the small bunkering tanker (used for refuelling larger vessels) of 1000 DWT tons to the real giants: the VLCC (Very Large Crude Carrier) of between 2-300,000 DWT and the ULCC (Ultra Large Crude Carrier) of over 300,000 DWT
It should be remembered that over 60% of the world's oil is transported by these tankers, and over 99% of that arrives safely without causing pollution. Indeed most oil pollution seen on beaches comes from the engine rooms of vessels (of all types) and not from the cargo tanks of tankers.
Those who would criticise the marine Tanker industry would do well consider walking to work in the morning, to an unheated office, with no power for computers, lights or communications. We have a lot to thank the tanker industry for, so don't knock it when you depend on it so much ! Increased regulation on the construction, maintenance and crew competence of tankers, such as under the Maritime Pollution Convention (MARPOL) and in the USA, the U.S. Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA90) has required double hull tankers to be built (of questionable value, but of undoubted high cost!), the phasing out of single skinned tankers and COFRs (Certificates of Financial Responsibility), which demonstrate that the operator has the financial backing, should a pollution event occur, to pay for the necessary clean-up.
In the "real world" (i.e outside of the USA) international agreements such as the CLC and Fund Conventions have provided clear levels of compensation that the oil industry are committed to provide to protect the environment. The MARPOL convention is a major force in ensuring a professional attitude is required of any vessel owner/operator carrying persistent oil as cargo.
Refrigerated Cargo Carrying Vessels ("Reefers") are purpose built to carry fruit, meat and other food products across the sea in a fresh and clean manner.
DRY CARGO VESSELS
HEAVY LIFT VESSELS -
Keep Smiling !!!!!!
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