Diamond shines on Graig Ultramax ambitions

The 'future-proof’ Diamond 2 64,000dwt Ultramax design (credit: Graig Shipping) The 'future-proof’ Diamond 2 64,000dwt Ultramax design (credit: Graig Shipping)

Building on the highly successful Diamond bulk carrier design programme, Cardiff-based Graig Shipping Group and DNV GL have collaborated in the development of a new Ultramax bulker concept, reports David Tinsley.

The proposed 64,000dwt ‘workhorse’ is intended to raise the bar for the sector in terms of overall energy efficiency, operability and environmental compatibility. Graig is looking towards a daily fuel consumption of only 14.6 tonnes at an optimised speed of 12 knots, plus high performance across a range of weather conditions.

The original Diamond design programme resulted in 110 vessels of the original 53,000dwt type and various derivatives being delivered from 2004 onwards. In the light of the accelerating pace of change with regard to emission standards and other environmental requirements, and increased competitive pressures on owners and operators, the partners in the Diamond 2 initiative consider it essential that new designs be of a calibre that will retain value and remain attractive under future trading conditions.

Although Diamond handymax and handysize bulkers were also built in Vietnam and India, China was the premier production point for the series. For the latest generation, Graig and DNV GL sought to identify and closely cooperate with designers of proven competence and experience in working with Chinese yards.

To that end, the European partners teamed with Econovo Marine Engineering Co, part of Shanghai-headquartered JHW Engineering & Contracting, for the development of the 63,200dwt Ultramax concept, dubbed the ‘Diamond 2 63k’. Econovo’s track record includes the Chinese-built Crown 63 Ultramax design, which attracted more than 80 sales.


Since the Diamond Ultramax design was finalised, Graig has actively canvassed business opportunities in the dry cargo market. These endeavours are reported to have yielded positive feedback, with the prospect of long-term time-charter commitments. A number of delivery slots have been reserved with selected yards in China, such that the first Diamond 2 Ultramax bulkers could be in service as soon as 2019.

Plans have been laid to build on the Diamond 2 platform by expanding the offering to larger vessels, including bulkers in the so-called ‘baby-Capesize’ category, indicating the 85,000-120,000dwt range.

As with the Diamond 53, the envisaged Ultramax carrier will be a true maid-of-all-work, suited to the gamut of bulk commodities and industrial dry cargos, including ore, coal, cement, alumina, bauxite, mineral sand, grain, steel coils and packaged timber. The requisite self-sufficiency in cargo handling will be imbued by an outfit of four, 35-tonne capacity deck cranes arranged on high pedestals along the centreline, plumbing the five holds and the hatchcover cargo bearing areas.

The hatchcovers will be of double-skin, hydraulic folding type, providing double sealing against seawater ingress and cargo contamination. Electric drives will be used for the crane winches.

The hull design features an asymmetric stern and vertical bow. Both the MAN two-stroke propulsion engine and the auxiliaries will be IMO Tier III NOx emissions-compliant, and waste heat recovery will be applied to two of the auxiliaries.

DNV GL’s COSSMOS machinery modelling tool was used to assess and enhance the integrated power system. The resulting Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) for the Diamond Ultramax meets Phase 3 criteria, 30% below the IMO reference line for bulkers built between 1999 and 2009. This is significant, as a Dutch study published last year found that less than 1% of bulker newbuilds met the EEDI 2025 (Phase 3) requirement.


Provision has been made for the installation of an exhaust gas cleaning plant, leaving owners the choice of retrofitting a scrubber or burning low-sulphur fuel so as to comply with sulphur Emission Control Area (SECA) rules and in-port emission restrictions.

Graig has entered into a pact with the Monaco-based V.Group whereby the latter will be responsible for construction supervision and post-delivery technical management of Diamond 2 newbuilds. A link was forged between the two organisations in 2017 when V.Group acquired the UK company’s ship management division, whose activities had included a strong newbuild supervision presence in China.

The Diamond 53 was an innovative development in bulk carrier design at the time of its introduction, distinguished by a robust, double-hull configuration and shaped by the most circumspect approach to owners’ and charterers’ needs and evolving environmental standards.

Series production in China, especially, brought double-hull, added-value design and construction within the bounds of price acceptability to the international bulk shipping market. The geared vessels of 53,000-54,000dwt offered a grain capacity volume of about 65,700m3 in five holds, within main dimensions of some 190m overall by  (erstwhile) Panamax breadth of 32.26m. The development partners were Graig, DNV (pre-DNV GL), and the Danish design firm Carl Bro, which became Grontmij Carl Bro.


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