Biggest short sea roro makes debut
'Celine' is the leading edge of a major fleet investment for northwest European shortsea traffic
A new era is unfolding in European roro freight transport through the introduction of a vessel of unprecedented capacity to trade between the northwest Continent and British Isles.
Constructed by Hyundai Mipo Dockyard for the Cobelfret-associated Compagnie Luxembourgeoise de Navigation (CLdN), the 74,300gt Celine offers a rolling cargo intake equating to 7,800 lane-metres within main hull dimensions of 234m length overall by 35m breadth. Reckoned to be the largest shotsea roro freight carrier ever built, she is due to be followed by second-of-class Delphine from the South Korean yard early next year.
Celine has been deployed on a Rotterdam-Zeebrugge-Dublin-Zeebrugge-Rotterdam-London-Rotterdam rotation, boosting flexibility as well as capacity within the CLdN service network, and making her first call at Zeebrugge on October 21, before proceeding to the Dutch port.
Although somewhat akin to a car carrier in appearance, the ship caters for multifarious ro-ro freight, from road trailers and rolltrailer-borne industrial goods to containers on cassettes, as well as for the group’s extensive business in the automotive sectors, carrying factory-new cars and vans and inter-plant components.
Loading and unloading is concentrated over the 25m x 18m MacGregor axial stern ramp, and the internal arrangements feature four levels of hoistable, electrically-operated car decks.
Serving the buoyant trade on routes linking mainland Europe with the Irish and UK markets, the introduction of a substantially larger vessel provides greater scope to importers and exporters for direct Ireland/continent routings as an alternative to using the UK ‘landbridge’. This could have increased future relevance when the UK leaves the European Union. The new stage of CLdN fleet development is complemented by the expansion of terminals run by sister company C.RO Ports, including an investment scheme of €30m-plus at its intermodal terminal in Rotterdam’s Brittanniehaven.
Celine is installed with a single MAN nine-cylinder, 600mm-bore ME-series two-stroke engine, rated at about 18,600kW, driving a Rolls-Royce controllable pitch propeller.
As well as enabling a speed upwards of 20 knots, the power concentration confers a capability for schedule recovery in the demanding and weather-prone shortsea operating regime. The ship’s array of DNV GL class descriptions includes the ‘gas ready’ notation, confirming the vessel’s preparedness, and suitability of the engine, for future conversion to LNG fuel, if so required.
The auxiliary machinery affords further testament to the strong market advance of Hyundai Heavy Industries’ HiMSEN brand. Three of the generators are driven by HiMSEN 7H32/40 medium-speed diesels, and a fourth aggregate has a 7H25/33 prime mover.
Manoeuvrability is critical to turnaround efficiency, safety and self-reliance in port for such a comparatively large and high-sided shortsea trader. Consequently, Celine has been fitted with five Kawasaki tunnel thrusters, two in the foreship and three at the stern.
CLdN plans up to 12 newbuilds within the medium-term. Besides the 7,800 lane-metre duo, HMD has been contracted for six 5,400 lane-metre roros, and two ships of a similar capacity are to come next year from Croatia’s Uljanik Shipyard, where options are held on several further vessels.
Main engine power