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10.02.15 15:05
New small-draught river tug-barge trains for Lena River basin and other Siberian regions

People say that new is well forgotten old. Problems of low-water and small depths at Eastern basins, especially in Sakha (Yakutia) are known not since year before last. One of decisions which allow working effectively in the conditions of shallow water is creation of composite vessels (i.e. cargo vessels with attached barges).
Operation of the first composite vessel (272a prj.) started already in the Lena Shipping Company in 1963.
What does determine now and determined earlier the interest to the composite vessels? As it was repeatedly described in our publications, the matter is that the bigger vessel loading in specific way conditions means the bigger efficiency of this vessel. In fact, "Max" concepts give the greatest profit to the future shipowner, and not only for oil products or grain transit, but also for passenger transportation. Feature of Eastern basins is that the maximum sizes of the vessel or composite ones are defined not by locks, but by manoeuvrability conditions (radiuses of turns, fairway width). Additionally general "trouble" of the inland waterways must be noted, i.e. insufficient depths.
But fully use maximum dimensions that way conditions allow for the single hull (length as a rule) is possible not always. Imagine non-composite river vessel of about 170-200 m length with draught, for example, 1.40-2.35 m (and 3.60 m too). It is clear that general strength of such hull won't be provided. Actually this reason was the main for appearance of composite vessels (strength of the parts of smaller length can be provided easier).
Besides, at the non-regulated rivers way conditions are function of season and weather. Not always it is possible to realize the maximum dimensions, but the ability is kept. When there is "high" water composite vessels can sail in design view. In other situations, for example, on the "side" rivers, composite vessel will be divided into parts, then the self-propelled vessel will work independently; the attached barge also will work independently in coupling with tug-pusher.
Composite vessel can partially realize the "rotator" scheme, leaving barge in the port of call and taking there taking another barge. The non-self-propelled barge can be used for some time as floating storage, etc.
In many cases, seaworthiness and corresponding main engines capacity foresaw for concept of self-propelled vessel become excess for specific river part of the route, particularly vessels' speed is restricted at the considerable part of inland waterways (engines' capacity is defined in order to provide safe work at sea or lakes, including storm reserve or is defined accounting the biggest current's speed). Attached barge availability on certain route's parts allows using this excess of engines' capacity (even with decreasing of whole composite vessel speed). It is clear that for such work in composite condition, the increased crew productivity is required because number of crewmembers of self-propelled vessel will be identical for working with barge or without her.
Thus, the composite vessel allows improving usage of inland waterways' bandwidth especially at Siberian Rivers.
Is possible to recommend providing a some all-design decisions, namely e.g. optimum assignment of class for the sailing region that will allow to minimize light weight; the greatest possible block coefficient due to actual operating conditions, that will allow to increase the loading capacity of composite vessel; universality, i.e. barge must to has to be able to work with the existing river pusher-tugs (there is a lot of). It is desirable to provide economy of running time due to passing all the route without composite vessel rearrangement, accepting all available composite vessel's dimensions in accordance with navigation rules and keeping manoeuvrability due to way conditions of the river basin appointed by the requirements specification.
Carried our analyze of the existing fleet of the river shipping companies of eastern basins allows to conclude that it will be necessary to discard all these vessels during the nearest 5-10 years due to actual age, moral obsoleting, wearing of machines and mechanisms, and due to hull wearing in some cases. The mostly representative is tanker fleet, at which the biggest part of the vessels are of single hull type.
If amendments to the "Technical Regulation Concerning Safety of Inland Water Transport Objects" are adopted, from 01.01.2018 OJSE Lena United River Shipping Company (LORP) will not be able to carry out transportation of "light" oils, but this cargo is a basis of "northern" delivery. List of the company's vessel that will not have permission to transport "light" oil is as follows: 16 Lenaneft type tankers (P-77 prj.), 8 "TO-1500" tankers (1745B prj.), 7 SPN type tankers (414B prj.); total their cargo capacity is 50600 tons. Other Lena's region carrier RLE "Alexeev Repairing Fleet Base" owns 36 single-hull 1745B tankers.
Why it is important? Because only in the territory of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) which area makes 18% of the total area of the Russian Federation, live about 1 million people. More than one and a half thousand fields and over 5 thousand manifestations of different types of mineral raw materials are reconnoitered. Estimation of the minerals reserves potential is 5.5 trillion US dollars, Yakutia is included in the first five of the RF subjects by the capacity of gross regional revenue. Thus more than 80% of all necessary material resources are brought from afar.
For more than 85% of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), the only transport route is a seasonal waterway of Lena basin rivers from the port Osetrovo to the Laptev Sea.
Extension of inland waterways of the Republic is 20 thousand km. Lena River and other navigable Yakutia rivers are meridional extension of main-line railways. Main cargo flow at Lena River is down-stream, so inland vessels are highly important for this cargo flow.
Over 70% of oil products are delivered to the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) by shipping companies from the port of Osetrovo and is carried down-stream to the primary consumers on the main line (at Lensk, Zhatay, Peleduy, Olekminsk) where reserves are created with accordance to Arctic delivery providing. These reserves are attended also for the case of sharp change of the waterway dimensions of Upper Lena in the summer period, at the beginning of vessels' entering into Lena's estuary (the third decade of July) and the beginning of the Arctic cargo delivery.
The maximal delivery of oil products is provided to the settlements of the Vitim, Aldan, Vilyuy Rivers and river's tributaries from the beginning of navigation, using short-term favourable navigational conditions (due to water depth).
Starting from the second half of July, tanker fleet's loading and forwarding towards Arctic settlements are provided. Simultaneously tanker tug-barge trains are used; they are conveyed to the port of Tiksi.
Total transported cargo capacity (for all Lena shipping companies) grew last years and reached level of 5.0-5.5 million tons (versus 4.0 million tons at 2006-2008).
Oil products transported capacity was 764.0 thousand tons for 2013 navigation.
Main dry cargoes at Lana basin by the 2012 data are, as follows:
• building materials (1.64 million tons, or 35% of all dry cargoes);
• coal and coke (1.01 million tons, or 21.6%);
• timber (0.185 million tons, or 4.0%).
Total dry cargoes transported capacity was 4.68 million tons including 0.69 million tons of containerized cargo (14.8%) and 0.46 million tons of packed cargo (9.8%).
As a result of Marine Engineering Bureau investigations, several technical projects of small-draught composite vessel with restricted working draught (1.40-2.35 m) were fulfilled, as follows: dry cargo variant (RD63 dry cargo pusher vessel plus RDB21 dry cargo barge), tanker variant (RT63 tanker pusher vessel plus ROB21 tanker barge) and combined variant (RT63A dry-cargo/tanker pusher vessel plus ROB21A dry-cargo/tanker barge).
Draught for small draught composite vessel for the Siberian rivers was appointed as a range 1.40-2.35 m. It was necessary to take into consideration that Lena River has long-term spring high water.
Basing on the analyze of existing coupling devices used at eastern basins, coupling unit UDR-100 was accepted for both variants (dry-cargo and tanker ones) of small-draught composite vessel.
Due to analyze of operational and weather conditions at investigated sailing regions and accumulated experience, the following RRR classification notation were was accepted for discussed small-draught composite vessel: "O 2,0"(ice 20)A for pusher cargo vessel (at both dry-cargo and tanker variants) and " 1,2"(ice 20) for barge. These classes allow to transport cargo at Lena basin during the whole navigation period.
Due to analyze of way restrictions, the maximal length till 170 m (summarized length of the pusher plus barge) was recommended f. It will be necessary to decrease running speed at Lena River part from Ust-Kut till Kirensk with waterway radius 300 m.
Several berths will require separate operations near them due to their insufficient length; such situation corresponds to operational models of prototype composite vessel, at which CK type vessels (CK-2000, CK-2000K, CK-2000KH projects) were used as pusher ones.
The maximal composite vessel's breadth may be accepted from the region 17.2-22.8 m. High end usage will initiate construction problems if building at Russian shipyards.
Due to shipping experience, self-propelled cargo pusher vessels of CK type (CK-2000, CK-2000K, CK-2000KH) are the mostly efficient for work with dry cargo or tanker barges at swallow water Siberian rivers. So this allowed to use these vessels as prototypes for new concepts.
Developed perspective projects RT63, RD63 and RT63A of small-draught self-propelled inland waterway vessels are successors of project TO-1400, that was made for class "O" river tanker (project was developed out in the beginning of 2000s for Lena River Shipping Company). These new projects are intended to substitute in perspective existing tankers of 1754, CK-2000K, 414, 414 project and dry cargo vessels of CK-2000, CK-2000K, -25 projects.
For information: in 2008 construction of the hull of the head TO-1400 tanker was completed; then hull was towed to the Zhataysk Shipyard harbour for construction finishing.
RT63, RD63 and RT63A project vessels are steel single-deck self-propelled double-screw ones with inclined stem and transom stern, with ER located aft, with living superstructure and wheelhouse located fore, with bow thruster, with fore UDR-100 coupling unit for providing pushing of dry cargo, tanker or combined barges, including existing ones.
New barge projects ROB21, RDB21 and ROB21A are the successors of the -2000 concept, which also was developed in the beginning of 2000s for Lena River Shipping Company. These new projects enhance operational abilities of tanker pusher vessel, increase cargo capacity of TBT, and provide loading multiplicity for river-sea tankers.
For information: the head -2000 barge was constructed at Zhataysk Shipyard in 2006.
Main characteristics of RT63+ROB21, RD63+RDB21, RT63A+ROB21A tug-barge trains are given below in the table.
Finally, the new RT63+ROB21 concept has deadweight 4788 t at draught 2.35 m, deadweight 3280 t at draught 1.80 m and deadweight 2195 t at draught 1.40 m; all this is much more that existing fleet vessels have. Accordingly, despite increasing thickness of hull elements and appearing of additional constructions such as double bottom and double sides, specific transportation self-cost will decrease by about 10-15% comparing with old vessels.
For information: the most up-to-date composite vessel of LORP consists of TO-1400 tanker and B-2000 barge; she has cargo capacity 3560 t at draught 2.35 m (i.e. by 1055 t less).
Main characteristics of RT63+ROB21, RD63+RDB21, RT63A+ROB21A tug-barge trains.
Parameter Main characteristics of tug-barge trains
RT63+ROB21 RD63+RDB21 RT63A+ROB2121
Composite vessel type tanker dry cargo combined
Length overall, m 170.40
Breadth overall, m 17.20
Draught (summer free board), m 1.80
Deadweight at draught 1.40 / 1.60 / 1.80 / 2.0 / 2.15 / 2.35 in river, t (about) 2008 / 2566 / 3111 / 3656 / 4067 / 4619 2195 / 2736 / 3280 / 3825 / 4236 / 4788 1900 / 2441 / 2985 / 3529 / 3942 / 4493
Fuel autonomy, days 10
Number of cargo tanks 24 - 24
Capacity of cargo tanks, m³ 5692 - 4831
Number of cargo's kinds for simultaneously loading/unloading 3 - 1
Area of cargo deck (in cargo bunker), m² - 1645 1366
Permissible load for the cargo part of deck, t/m² - 5
Cargo bunker capacity (up to coaming's upper edge), m³ - 2362 1996
Russian River Register class notation for the pusher O 2.0 (ice 20) A
Russian River Register class notation for the barge R 1.2 (ice 20)
Capacity of Main Engines, kW 2 x 746
Crew / places, pers. 8 / 10
Speed, not less than, km/h 19.0