Our answer to the crisis - ferry boat "Avangard" first loading at the port of Caucasus
Train ferry boat "Avangard" moored at the Caucasus port for tank-wagons loading on the February, 27.
On the February, 28 at about 10:20 ferry boat with 40 tank-wagons onboard moved from the berth and head for port of Varna.
CNF06 prj. Vessel "Avangard" (45 wagons capacity) is assigned for lines the port of Caucasus (Russian Federation) - the port of Varna (Bulgaria).
Vessel's conversion was carried out by "Yuzniy" shipyard at Sevastopol (Igor Chistyakov is the general director).
Conversion's goal was to rebuild Finnish ro-ro car carrier into ro-ro train carrier for Black Sea. For this purpose about one thousand of workers from the shipyard and subcontracted firms took part in conversion works during 2 years.
"Anship" shipping company (Alexander Monin is the general director, Sergey Dobryakov is the technical director) is a shipowner. Company has already operated 25-wagons ferries (002CNF01 prj.) "Petrovsk" and "Annenkov" on the line the port of Caucasus - the port of Crimea. These ferries transferred about 7 million tons of cargoes since 2004.
All works supervision was carried out by Don-Kubanskiy branch of RRR (Yuriy Sklyarenko is the head of branch).
Vessel's conversing was carried out in accordance with normative document named "Building of internal waterways and river-sea going vessels using elements of maintained vessels" (Guidance P003-2003). This document was issued by Russian River Register (RRR) under direction of Nikolay Efremov, doctor of economic sciences.
Vessel's conversion means big and, as usual, dimensional modernization of existent vessel that includes renewal of vessel's elements reliability up to the level that corresponds to the new shipbuilding.
Ferry project CNF06 is designed by the Marine Engineering Bureau.
Vessel is assigned for transportation of railway wagons and vehicles, and also ISO containers, dangerous goods of 1, 2, 3, 4.1, 4.2, 5, 6.1, 8, 9 classes and large-sized cargoes.
Vessel's overall length is of 133.67 m, length between perpendiculars is of 123.58 m, overall breadth is of 22.0 m, moulded breadth is of 21.0 m, depth is of 8.00 m.
Deadweight is about 5360 tons with cargo waterline draught of 4.80 m that allows to make transportation from shallow water of Caucasus port (Russian Federation) to the port of Varna (Bulgaria) and to the port of Poty (Georgia) to provide cargo transportation on line Russia - EU, Russia - Armenia.
The deckhouse is located fore and engine-room is located aft, 2 main engines with capacity of 2200 kWt each works through reduction gear to variable-pitch propeller.
Railway wagons are placed on five railway lines of upper deck.
Tank-wagon (length between coupling gauges of 12020 mm) capacity is of 45 units.
Freight car (length between coupling gauges of 14730 mm) capacity is of 33 units.
Passenger car (length between coupling gauges of 24540 mm) capacity is of 20 units.
Open-top wagon (length between coupling gauges of 13920 mm) capacity is of 39 units.
Super-size automobiles capacity is of 58 units.
Loading-unloading is of one-level type (as at almost all MEB designed train-ferries), that essentially reduces the price of coast terminals and provides loading-unloading of train (45 wagons) during 1.0-1.5 hours.
The cargo deck is designed for transportation of wagons with weight up to 97 tons each on the all lines, on outside lines (1 and 5) wagons with weight up to 219 tons (8-axles) can be transported, possible load of vehicles' axle is of 12 tons (4 wheels on the axle) and 10 tons (2 wheels on axle).
Cargo deck sizes (length is of 112.5 m, breadth is of 21.0 m) allow to transport so-called "project" cargoes which are impossible to place on usual vessels. Presence of fore located deckhouse practically does not restrict height of large-sized cargoes.
The vessel is of single-screw type. Operational speed is of 12.0 kn. Vessel has two thrusters.
Autonomy is of 15 day. Crew consists of 17 persons (18 places), passenger number is of 12 persons. Total places are of 30.
Today situation is such that the nearest 10 years the main problem of native fleet will be supporting of safe and economic operation existing vessels. The mean age of sea going and river-sea going vessels had been exceeded 25 years, river vessels - 25-30 years and number of built vessels is about 30-50 vessels per year. All these vessels are under Russian and Ukrainian ship-owners control.
In such crisis periods of our country history (the twenties, the forties of last century) in the first place it was paid attention to renewal and more effective using of existing technical means, including transport. For example, unfinished light cruisers of "Svetlana" type Northern yard and Baltic shipyard conversed into sea going oil carriers in 1923-25. During 1922-25 rivers yards renewed more than 400 vessels of internal sailing region. For Lake Ladoga crossing of train wagons and steam locomotives there were re-equipped 3 barges with S.A.Bazilevskiy project in 1942-43. Similar works were carried out under professor P.P.Papkovich in Astrakhan, in 1942. Two trawlers were rebuilt into petrol-tankers in 1945. Four train ferries of "Severniy" type were re-equipped from river vessels for Kerch crossing in Sevastopol, in 1955.
In modern practice there are a lot of schemes and procedures of keeping save and profitable rate of existing vessels' operation. To traditional experience of big vessel re-equipments and general overhauls, schemes of vessel's life terms extending for more than 5 years, like hull renovation, vessel re-equipment and conversion were added at last decades.
After conversion, the ship-owner can receive almost new vessel with full documents set which is approved by classification society, and vessel life term can be calculated from the date of re-equipment. As the rule, such conversion allows to change (in case of need) also vessel assignment for 30-40% of new vessel cost.
Certainly, the basic way of enlarging transport fleet with special vessels is shipbuilding. However, the required transport unit in some situations is easier to receive by re-equipping of vessel and changing its principal dimensions. In this situation time winning is reached not only from less duration of works, but also from significant reduction equipment delivery terms (equipment is already onboard) and usage of donor vessel's hull constructions. Anyway, conversion is considerably cheaper than new shipbuilding, and in crisis situation - more realistic.
Vessel conversion allows to solve problems of life terms extending and of safety raising in short terms and with minimal expenses. Some vessels are morally become out of date long before limiting physical depreciation of their hulls and machinery. And, untimely moral becoming out of date is not (as rule) the result of design or building mistakes. Often it is too early to utilize vessels, and the way out from such problem is a re-equipment or modernization.
For example, native river fleet vessels, which even after 20 years operation in internal water ways have almost new hulls and completely useful machinery. Economic situation has changed and these vessels became uncalled for their design assignment.
Sea going vessels, per contra, have unsteady degrading. In area of max wastage effective section-block method of ship-repairing is using (method is providing minimal terms of vessel's out-operation). These terms almost aren't increased in combination of reductive repair with dimensional re-equipment, i.e. when changing degrading constructions with new one (bigger), dimensional re-equipment is rather effective.
There are following basic manufacturing directions of re-equipment and modernization of vessels abroad:
• changing of vessel principal dimensions with replacement its hull part by new one;
• Increasing of vessel principal dimensions with help of insertions and fixing parts with usage of all old hull;
• creating multi-hull vessels from one-hull vessels, and also hull dividing into certain parts, which are using as independent self-floating structures after additional re-equipment.
For example, in 1989 Shell UK company was examined a question about re-equipment, including main engines changing, of Shell Craftsman tanker, which was built at the end of sixties. Three tankers from a same type, which were belonged to British Petroleum Oil company, had been re-equipped on Wear Dockyard in Sunderland. During re-equipment main engines were changed, tank coverage was renewed and so on. As far as vessels' hulls, like Shell Craftsman tanker hull, had been in good conditions, life term was extended for more 15-20 years. Each vessel re-equipment was taken place for about 2 months, work cost was about 9.6 mil of dollars. It's interesting to mark that for those times loading of English yards fell almost to zero, that is why such works were most welcome.
One of the basic direction of conversion was modernization of universal vessel into specialized container carrier. In world practice there were a lot of such works. The begin is attached to middle of the sixties (period of mass retirements of Liberty type vessels).
For example of such modernization it can be taken such conversion of sister-ship vessels Leverkusen, Erlangen, Ludwigshafen and Hoechst which were built as multipurpose ones in 1970-1971 for work on the line the port of Hamburg - American ports. On their ACT these vessels were multi-deck with ER located aft, forecastle, six holds, cargo cranes and booms on the main deck. Vessels' modernizations were carried out in 1979 at Bremen Vulkan yard with following vessels' rename into Leverkusen Express, Erlangen Express, Ludwigshafen Express è Hoechst Express. When all works were completed, vessels were regarded as new vessels.
During conversion works shipyard kept aft and fore part of the vessel (made all needed re-equipment), manufactured and mounted new middle part of the vessel, dimensions of which weren't conformed to dismount part dimensions. As a result, class and assignment of vessel, its main technical characteristics were changed. After modernization vessel could accept onboard 951 TEU (3 tiers of containers on the deck). Vessel breadth increased almost on 13.5% and length increased on 10.0%, but nevertheless vessel's speed in working range of main engine revolutions decreased only for 0.15-0.30 knots.
Cumulated world experience allows to make a resume, that conversion of commercial vessels for today situation in Russian and Ukrainian economics is real (and may be single) way out of the almost stalemate situation, when fleet is sweeping aging and there is no money for new shipbuilding for private ship-owners even in theory.
Conversion allows to prolong safe and profitable operation of existing vessels in changing conditions, may be (if, of course, there will be favourable conditions from State) to load native shipbuilding and ship-repair yards with orders and to give work to people in crisis situation.