South Korean shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) presented a new design feature for container vessels at Hamburg’s SSM, increasing the box intake of large carriers.
The patented concept called “Skybench” can extend cargo capacity by 450 teu on a 23-row wide 19,000 teu ship and by 350 teu on a 20-row wide 14,000 teu vessel.
While applicable to any large twin-island container ship in principle, Hyundai proposed that the innovation could compensate for the capacity lost by gas-powered ships compared to heavy fuel oil (HFO-fuel) vessels, due to the large size of liquefied natural gas(LNG) tanks.
The design works by sliding the upper three decks of the accommodation block on a container ship, allowing for containers to be loaded and discharged from the otherwise unused space.
The mechanism takes ten minutes to operate, sliding the block from its normal position to a temporary port position, using four electric-driven train units.
Sliding can be minimised to a single port at each end of a rotation since extra containers can be grouped adequately when preparing a cargo plan.
There are potential safety benefits because in the case of an emergency, the sliding block is detachable and would continue to float if a vessel sunk.
The accommodation block rests on top of two side casings on a ship, which stretch the length of two 40 ft bays and where lifeboats, provision cranes and utility rooms are located.