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17.03.15 16:19
Introducing concepts of small-draught cargo composite vessels at RosMorRechFlot Board Expert Council

On 17.03.2015 meeting of Expert Council of Board of Maritime and River Fleet Federal Agency (RosMorRechFlot) took place at this Agency. Head of the Agency Alexander Davydenko was a chairman; Minister Deputy of RF Transport Victor Olerskiy and Head of State Politics Department at the Maritime and River Transport Sphere of RF Ministry of Transport Konstanin Palnikov participated in the meeting.
Gennadiy Egorov (the Marine Engineering Bureau General Director, prof., Dr. Sc.) presented the concepts of small-draught tanker, dry cargo and combined (platform tanker) composite vessels for Lena River Basin and the Siberian regions. Concepts were developed by order of RosMorRechFlot; presentation was carried out at meeting of Expert Council.
Problems of low-water and small depths at Eastern basins, especially in Sakha (Yakutia) are known long ago.
Table 1. Mean depth for period of 2012-2013
ZoneGuaranteed depthMinimal actual depth
Lena River
Ust-Kut - Ulkan175148
Ulkan - Kirensk175148
Kirensk - Vitim190153
Vitim - Lensk220255
Lensk - estuary of Olekma River220225
estuary of Olekma River - Yakutsk220260
Yakutsk - estuary of Vilyu River255280
estuary of Vilyu River - Stolb Island255300
Vitim River
estuary of Luzhki River150198
Aldan River
Tommot - Uchur100103
Uchur - Eldikan140190
Eldikan - Dzhebariki150200
Vilyu River
Suntar - estuary of Marha River10055
estuary of Marha River - Estuary of HatyrykHomo River11060
Indigirka River
Ust-Moma - Belaya Gora-85
Belaya Gora - Chokurdakh200135
Chokurdakh - o. emkoo (0 km)200200

Therefore the native engineers who created Lena River fleet in the second half of the XX century, widely applied tag-barge trains, composite vessels, special hull's shapes for shallow water, paddle wheels, combined dry-cargo/tanker vessels and a lot of other technical solutions, many of which are considered as innovations now.
Today there is ability to use modern economic and ecological safe machines and mechanisms, comfort and habitability ideas have improved, vessels themselves became automated and more reliable.
But it does not mean that it is impossible to use those basic ideas which inspired our predecessors, especially as operating conditions have not changed and the similar problems are solved.
One of such basic ideas is creation of composite vessels (i.e. cargo vessels with attached barges).
In the Lena Shipping Company the first composite vessel (272a prj.) was created in 1963. On the Volga River the composite vessel started working in 1964; she consisted of 576 prj. m/v "Ovruch" and attached barge. M/v "Ovruch" was equipped by strip supports for pushing, wire fastening gauge, additional deck-house and propellers with reduced pitch. Further on the other vessels the additional deck-house wasn't arranged and propellers weren't changed. In 1965 on Volga and Kama Rivers already 39 dry cargo vessels pushed attached barges. By the beginning of the 1980s their number has reached 50; their yearly transported cargo amount was about 7 million tons.
In 1966 the first-ever section motor ship with 10 thousand tons cargo capacity was accepted into operation. This vessel was designed under the leadership of V. V. Bogdanov on the basis of the 1566 prj. "Volga-Don" type vessel and corresponding attached barge. Crew's labour productivity has grown by 40%, but her series wasn't commenced because ports were not ready to work with she. Only in 1981 the serial construction of composite 05074 prj. "Volzhskiy" type vessels has begun. 20 such composite vessels with loading capacity of 10 thousand tons have been constructed.
What does determine now and determined earlier the interest to the composite vessels? The matter is that 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.
For example, OJSE Lena United River Shipping Company (LORP) operates in general single-hull tankers now (see Table 2).
Table 2. Tanker fleet of LORP
NNProjectRRR classCargo capacity, tonsNumber of vessels /
hull's construction
Self-propelled vessels
1.R-77 ("LenaNeft")"M-PR"215016 / single-hull
2.621 ("LenaNeft")"M-SP"21007 / double sides and bottom
3.1577 ("VolgoNeft")"O"4 8001 / double sides and bottom
4.1754 BM ("TO-1500")"O- PR"1 5001 / double sides and bottom
5.1754 B ("TO-1500")"O"1 5008 / single-hull
(modernized "CK-2000")
"P"9207 / cargo tanks on deck
7TO-600 (modernized 414V)"P"6001 / double sides and bottom
8.414V ("CPN")"P"6007 / single-hull
Non-self-propelled vessels
9.81631"P"1 9004 / cargo tanks on deck
10.KN-16801"M"2 3001 / cargo tanks on deck
11.NM-16801"M-PR"2 2001 / cargo tanks on deck
12.NM-16801"M"2 2002 / cargo tanks on deck
13.16802"M-SP"2 3802 / cargo tanks on deck
14.16800NPB"R"2 7701 / cargo tanks on deck
15.16800N"O"2 6007 / cargo tanks on deck
16.16800N"R"2 6001 / cargo tanks on deck
17.16800N 1"O"2 8481 / cargo tanks on deck
18.BN-2000"R"2 0001 / cargo tanks on deck
Source: "LORP".

If amendments to the "Technical Regulation Concerning Safety of Inland Water Transport Objects" are adopted, from 01.01.2018 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 (414V prj.); total their cargo capacity is 50600 tons. Other Lena's region carrier RLE "Alexeev Repairing Fleet Base" owns 36 single-hull 1745B tankers.
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.
As a rule, the oil products delivery scheme is as follows:
1. Oil products are delivered generally to the Tiksi port in bulk by the 1754B tankers (in accordance with tankers' sailing region "O") and by the composite vessel;
2. Products are delivered from the port of Tiksi to the port of Nizhneyansk (Yana River) by river-sea vessels; further delivery to the river's settlements is carried out by 414V prj. (SPN type) tankers. Delivery from port of Tiksi to the estuary sandbar of the Indigirka is carried out by river-sea tankers and further by the 414V tankers.
Capacity of the cargo transported by all shipping companies of the Lena Basin has grown last years comparing with 2006-2008 (5-5.5 million tons versus 4 million tons).
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).
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.
New 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 od dry cargo, tanker or combined barges, including existing ones.
RT63 and RT63A tankers have double bottom and double sides.
Main particulars of RT63, RD63 and RT63A dry cargo pusher vessels are shown in the Table 3.
Table 3. Main particulars of RT63, RD63 and RT63A dry cargo pusher vessels
ItemCharacteristics of small-draught self-propelled pusher vessel
Vessel's typetankerdry cargocombined
Length overall, m85,70
Length due to CWL, m/td>83,58
Breadth overall, m17,20
Breadth, m17,0
Depth, m2,602,90
Draught due to CWL, m1,80
Deadweight due to draughts 1,40 / 1,60 / 1,80 / 2,0 / 2,15 / 2,35 m in river, t (about)773 / 1040 / 1310 / 1581 / 1787 / 2064847 / 1114 / 1384 / 1655 / 1861 / 2138712 / 979 / 1249 / 1520 / 1726 / 2003
Autonomy (fuel), days10
Number of cargo tanks10-10
Cargo tanks' capacity, m³2435-1574
Cargo type's number for simultaneously loading / unloading3-1
Cargo pumps' capacity, m³/h5 x 100-2 x 150
Cargo bunker deck area, m²-708657
Permissible load for cargo deck, t/m²-5
Cargo bunker capacity
(up to coaming's upper edge level), m³
Russian River Register class for pusher vessel O 2.0 (ice 20) A
ME capacity, kW2 x 746
Propulsion/steering unit2 x FPP (Ø1,6 m) in rotary nozzles
Bow thruster, kW55
Auxiliary DG + Emergency DG2 x 248 kW + 1 x 90 kW
Auxiliary boiler (thermal boiler), kW2 x 8001 x 8002 x 600
Crew / places, pers8 / 10
Speed, not less than, km/h19,0

New barge projects ROB21, RDB21 and ROB21A are the successors of the BN-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 BN-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 4.
ROB21 and ROB21A tanker barges have double bottom and double sides.
Table 4. Main characteristics of RT63+ROB21, RD63+RDB21, RT63A+ROB21A tug-barge trains
ItemCharacteristics of small-draught tug-barge trains
Combined vessel's typetankerdry cargocombined
Length overall, m170,40
Breadth overall, m17,20
Draught due to CWL, m1,80
Deadweight due to draughts 1,40 / 1,60 / 1,80 / 2,0 / 2,15 / 2,35 m in river, t (about)2008 / 2566 / 3111 / 3656 / 4067 / 46192195 / 2736 / 3280 / 3825 / 4236 / 47881900 / 2441 / 2985 / 3529 / 3942 / 4493
Autonomy (fuel), days10
Number of cargo tanks24-24
Cargo tanks' capacity, m³5692-4831
Cargo type's number for simultaneously loading / unloading3-1
Cargo bunker deck area, m²-16451366
Permissible load for cargo deck, t/m²-5
Cargo bunker capacity
(up to coaming's upper edge level), m³
Russian River Register class for pusher vessel O 2,0 (ice 20) A
Russian River Register class for barge R 1,2 (ice 20)
ME capacity, kW2 x 746
Crew / places, pers.8 / 10
Speed, not less than, km/h19,0

As a result, new tanker concept RT63+ROB21 (consists of tanker and barge) has deadweight 4788 t at draught 2.35 m; at draught 1.80 deadweight is 3280 t; at draught 1.40 deadweight is 2195 t. Deadweight's values are significantly bigger than existing fleet has. 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 about 10-15% comparing with existing 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).
Payback period with accounting own funds is from 6 till 13 years depending on operational model used.
As a result, due to RosMorRechflot order, Marine Engineering Bureau worked out up-to-date efficient project of small-draught tug-barge train with restricted working draught (1.40-2.35 m) for the Siberian rivers in dry cargo variant (RD63 dry cargo pusher vessel plus RDB21 dry cargo barge) and in tanker variant (RT63 tanker pusher vessel plus ROB21 tanker barge); also combined variant (dry-cargo/tanker) is foreseen. Characteristics of developed tug-barge train correspond to operational conditions of Siberian rivers and are significantly better than existing similar ones (she has bigger cargo capacity with simultaneously increased strength standard; there are fulfilled all current requirements due to ecology, safety, habitability and crew number reduction).
Developed perspective projects RT63, RD63 and RT63A of small-draught self-propelled inland waterway vessels 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.