Bulbous bow refits for Hapag-Lloyd

Hapag-Lloyd is to refit optimised bulbous bows to 24 of its largest vessels Hapag-Lloyd is to refit optimised bulbous bows to 24 of its largest vessels

Hapag-Lloyds is to refit 24 of its biggest vessels with bulbous bows by the end of the year, including some brought into service just last year.

Vessels in the 13,200 teu Hamburg Express class, as well as the 8,750 teu Colombo, Prague and Vienna Express classes will be refitted at two shipyards in Shanghai over the coming year. The bows have been precisely optimised taking into account factors including the ship’s area of operation, cruising speed and cargo volume.

Richard von Berlepsch, managing director ship management, Hapag-Lloyd told The Motorship that the new bulbous bow designs had been calculated by DNV GL, using parametric modelling and fluid dynamic analysis taking speed and loading factors of the ships into account. Towing trials were also conducted to test the calculations. The refits are being carried out by Hyundai Heavy Industries.

On the modern Hamburg Express vessels, optimised propellers will also be installed, taking into account their reduced operating speed of 16-18 knots compared to a design speed of 25 knots. The new propellers are bigger than the original parts, at 9.20m in diameter, and 11 tonnes lighter. They also sport five blades instead of four.

“The new speed profile allows for further optimisation of the propeller in terms of weight and efficiency, thereby increasing the overall effect,” said von Berlepsch.

Hapag-Lloyd anticipated that the optimisation measures will lead to fuel savings of roughly 10% for the 13,200 teu vessels alone. Von Berlepsch  told The Motorship: "Depending on the actual speed of a ship and its loading situation, it can be up to 25% in savings... up to a six-digit US dollar amount per month and ship."

The first 24 vessels were selected on the basis of where the biggest savings could be made. The company added that it would look at extending the measures to other ship clases in the future.

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