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10.04.15 22:47
River shipbuilding: new vessel's projects. What shall we do in shall water conditions?

On the 09.04.2015 the II International Conference "Russian shipbuilding" took place in St. Petersburg. The Conference was organized by Central Research Institute of Marine Fleet (CRIMF) and Krylov State Scientific Center with assistance ła Shipbuilders Association of St. Petersburg and Leningrad District, Russian Chamber of Shipping and Maritime Consul of St. Petersburg Government.
General Director of the CRIMF Byanov Sergey was a moderator of the Conference. Two men made welcome speeches: the Head of the Industry Development Department of the St. Petersburg Committee on Industrial Policy and Innovations Alexander Medvedev and the President of Shipbuilders Association of St. Petersburg and Leningrad District Alexander Aleshkin.
More than 200 representatives of different organizations took part in the Conference workout, such as from maritime business, shipbuilding yards, maritime scientific and design institutes, equipment suppliers, educational institutions and maritime ministers and departments.
Totally 17 reports concerned actual problems of domestic shipbuilding were presented at the Conference.
Perspective development Director of Marine engineering Bureau Nikolay Avtutov had a presented report "River shipbuilding: new vessel's projects. What shall we do in shall water conditions?".
As it was pointed in the report, the main problem of the RF water transport system is low-water that leads to the small depths problem.
The main cargo flow decreasing at RF inland waterways was met in the Volgo-Balt direction at 40 km part from Gorodetsk locks Nos. 15-16 till Balakhna. Only every fourth day vessels with draught 2.5 m were able to sail through there; in general only sailing with draught 1.9 m was provided. One may take into consideration that ensured water depth for RF Unified Deep-Water System (UDWS) is 3.6 m.
Generally 2014 navigation took place in low-water conditions, water levels were registered as lower than design values at 13 basins, i.e. at 17.7 thousand km of inland waterways (except Belomor-Onega and Ob-Irtysh Basins).
This year the situation in the southern part of UDWS became complicated significantly. Due to the predicted low-water at Lower Don, the Don Basin Waterway Administration developed working regime for Tsimlyansk Reservoir which foresees water dumping of 250 m/s during the period from May 24 to June 9, 2015. This dumping rate shall provide water depth not bigger than 2.90 m. Shipowners ask to provide the minimum guaranteed water depths of 3.10-3.20 m that will allow to load vessels till draft of 3.00 m.
One may understand that underloading of Volgo-Don Max vessel for 60 cm (i.e 3.00 m instead of 3.60 m) means cargo capacity loss of 1200-1350 t.
RosMorRechFlot made considerable efforts for elimination of "narrow" places, for example, building of the Nizhny Novgorod low pressure node is planned in 2016-2020; this facility has to solve Gorodetsk problem. Also the building second line of the Nizhne-Svirskiy lock has to be handed over by 2017; the documents' package for justification of the low pressure node on the Don River at the Bagayevskiy District is prepared.
However it is difficult to not argue with bad forecasts concerning low-water for the next decade.
Therefore new effective in such conditions technical solutions in design of river and river-sea of vessels are required, including:
• super-fat vessels with the worldwide record block coefficient (> 0.9) for self-propelled vessels;
• composite vessels (self-propelled vessels + attached barges) and tug-barge trains with the maximal available dimensions due to way restrictions;
• combined vessels that are provided by cargo for voyages towards both end;
• vessels with lowered air draught; that permits to save operational time due to passing under bridges without drawing
Marine Engineering Bureau has prepared such new cargo vessels for RF inland waterways which "expands" narrow places of inland water transport and significantly enhance their own economic results by using new technical decisions, as follows:
• RST12 and RST25 mixed river-sea tankers of "Volga-Don Max" class with an increased river cargo capacity due to reasonable hull weight decreasing and accepting rational sailing region class (RS class notations R2-RSN 4.5, RRR class notation M-SP 4.5);
• RST27 "super fat" mixed river-sea tankers of "Volga-Don Max" class project with highly increased river capacity;
• RSD44 "estuary" river dry cargo vessels of "Volga-Don Max" class with lowered air draught, allowing to pass under the bridges of the Neva River, under the Rostov-on-Don railway bridge without drawing and also through Moscow River;
• RST54 river combined platform tankers based on "super fat" contours of RST27 project; these vessel are intended for transportation of cargo that doesn't suffer from wetting (e.g. gravel, rolled metal, "heavy" containers, cars, etc.) towards one direction and oil products towards back direction;
• RSD62 "super fat" mixed river-sea dry cargo vessels with highly increased river capacity based on contours of RST27 project. These vessels have sufficient RS class for seasonal work at the Northern Marine Way and fine ice properties in order to return to the base in the conditions of ice formation and ice thickness up to 40 cm. They represent certain symbiosis of "Sibirskiy" and "Volga-Don", with sizes of "Volga-Don Max" type and with higher sailing area class than RSD44 has ("the M-SP 3,5 against M-PR 2,5") and ice category ("Ice 40 against "Ice 20");
• RST34 "super fat" mixed river-sea "Volga-Don Max" type ore-bulk-oil carriers; these vessel are intended for "within-hold" transportation of grain, steel, sulphur, coal and other dry cargoes that require outer environment protection towards one direction and oil products or chemicals in bulk towards back direction. Herewith cargo loading capacity is kept for grain as well as for diesel oil and is about 5000 t for 3.60 m river draught;
• RSD49 mixed river-sea dry cargo vessels of "Volga-Don Max" class intended either for classical transportation of the mass cargoes or for river transportation (or Caspian transit) of oversized cargoes from European marine ports due to special long middle cargo hold of 60 m length;
• tug-barge trains (TBT) that provide significant advantages comparing with "single" vessel if transportation process is organized properly;
• river composite small-draught cargo vessels (working draught 1.40-2.35 m) for Eastern basins that fully use dimensions of Siberian Rivers; they are introduced as dry-cargo variant (RD63 dry cargo pusher vessel plus RDB21 dry-cargo barge), tanker variant (RT63 tanker pusher vessel plus ROB21 tanker barge) and also as combined variant (RT63A tanker/dry cargo pusher vessel plus ROB21A tanker/dry cargo barge).
Transportation ability is increased by maximal usage of actual way characteristics (maximal available vessel's length and breadth), and mainly by usage extremely fat hull contours, that have never used before in world's practice. And at least, decreasing of air draught allows avoiding of running time loss for waiting of bridges drawing in St.-Petersburg and Rostov-on-Don and allows to work through Moscow River till the Yuzhniy port.
One of decisions which allow working effectively in the conditions of shallow water of Eastern basins is creation of composite vessels (i.e. cargo vessels with attached barges).
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 TBT 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-TBT 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 TBT 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, TBT 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-selfpropelled 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 TBT speed). It is clear that for such work in TBT 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. For example, composite vessel for Siberia 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.
Developed composite vessels for Volga River that are based onto RST27 and RST54 tankers have deadweight about 13300 t for draught 3.60 m and 10300 t for draught 3.00 m in barge attached mode.