Versatile Dutch capacity for project cargo

No cargo height restraint: The 'Baltic' handling a 260-tonne mobile crane in Sardinia No cargo height restraint: The 'Baltic' handling a 260-tonne mobile crane in Sardinia

Hartman’s new R2 Carrier ro-ro generation builds on key features of its game-changing M2 Runner series of multipurpose/heavy-load vessels, writes David Tinsley.

A capacity-optimised class of small ro-ro/heavy-load vessel delivered by Hartman Marine Shipbuilding of the Netherlands has given further dimension to the fleet of versatile shortsea project cargo carriers deployed by the associated company Global Seatrade.

The 3,500dwt Baltic encapsulates a design that anticipates future logistic requirements of the offshore renewables sector while suited to the shortsea heavy cargo and general trading market as whole. The certification for ‘open-top’ sailing, whereby the hatch covers can be left open so as to accommodate outsized items of freight and project cargoes, complements the ro-ro loading and unloading principle, enabling ro-ro transportation without cargo height limitations.

Relative to main hull dimensions of 93m length overall and 15m breadth, the vessel offers an exceptionally large and flush cargo deck area and a hold volume of around 6,000m3, at a cost-saving tonnage measurement under 3,000gt.

Following delivery of the hull from Poland, Baltic was completed in July at Hartman Marine’s yard at Urk, on the IJsselmeer, the inland bay of the north and central Netherlands. A second vessel of the type, the Western Rock, is expected to make her debut by the start of 2018. Baltic and Western Rock employ a design known as the R2 Carrier, based on the M2 Runner series of 3,500dwt multipurpose heavy cargo vessels initially introduced by Hartman Marine and its shipping and shipmanagement arm Global Seatrade in 2012.


The M2 Runners set a precedent by virtue of a square-metre cargo capacity matching that of significantly larger ships. However, as gearless vessel, they are entirely dependent on shoreside craneage, whereas the R2 Carrier generation is equipped with a wide stern ramp that can take rolling loads up to 80t per axle. The shipowner considers that the ro-ro mode offers safer, more cost effective and faster handling than the conventional lo-lo method.

The bridge and accommodation of the Baltic are arranged forward, so as to maximise  weatherdeck and underdeck cargo area, volume and access, while the M2 Runner type is configured with bridge and superstructure aft. The R2 Carrier otherwise shares key features of the M2, as regards the class-leading square meterage, open top class notation, removable and adjustable tweendeck, IMO dangerous goods certification, high manoeuvrability, and fuel-conservant propulsion system with a  space-saving main engine installation.

The single hold is 69.3m long, 12.5m wide and 8.3m deep, and is closed by 11 pontoon hatch covers, creating a weatherdeck that provides a maximum 80m length and 15m breadth availability for deck cargo, out to the full width of the vessel and, remarkably, for all but 5m of her length between perpendiculars. The tank top is strengthened to accept 15t per square metre, while the hatch covers can take 3.5t/m2, up to a maximum of 280t each.

The design’s flexibility is further expressed in the adoption of a tweendeck, comprising six removable pontoons, with load ratings of 5t per square metre, for a total of 350t per tweendeck pontoon. The tweendeck is 63.8m in length and 12.5m in width, narrowing fore and aft.

In open-top condition, the travelling deck gantry lifts and stows the main hatchcovers forward, allowing the transport of tall or otherwise oversized freight. The tanktop and tweendeck provide respective stowage areas of 588m2 and 759m2, while the weatherdeck surface area is 1,200m2.


The overall configuration, deck and hatch scantlings and cargo handling properties of the R2 Carrier render the vessel type especially well suited to offshore equipment and project cargo transportation solutions, and not least to the growing traffic in wind energy components such as wind turbines, blades and nacelles.

An unusual feature for a cargo ship, although common to certain types of dredgers and other work vessels, is the incorporation of a 19m telescopic spud pole in the Baltic’s forward section, conferring extra berthing flexibility and security during cargo transfer operations.  
The structure of the newbuild programme is illustrative of the Dutch industry’s propensity for mutually beneficial collaboration through subcontracting.

Judicious cooperation within the Dutch marine production cluster and selective recourse to firms in lower-cost eastern European countries for hull fabrication, in combination with enterprising and pragmatic, home-grown ship design are pivotal to continuing Dutch competitiveness in small and specialised vessel construction. Furthermore, a still vibrant domestic shipowning and operating community provides a certain critical mass that underpins the market scope for the shipbuilding and allied sectors in the Netherlands.

Construction of the hull of the Baltic was subcontracted to Dutch company Neptune Marine Projects and fulfilled at the Partner Shipyard in Szczecin, Poland. As with the M2 series, outfitting and completion was undertaken at Hartman Marine’s Urk premises, followed by sea trials out of IJmuiden.

Technical outfitting specialist Breman Shipping Installation of Genemuiden was retained as a subcontractor by Hartman Marine Shipbuilding for the complete heating, ventilation and air conditioning system, the hot and cold water and sanitary arrangements, plus engineering work. While certain tasks in its remit were effected during hull fabrication in Poland, about 90% of Bremen’s contractual assignments were carried out after the newbuild arrived at Urk. A similar scope of work applies in the vase of the Western Rock.

The design is the product of cooperation between the shipbuilder, Global Seatrade and Groningen-based Conoship International. The challenge posed by the project was to obtain the maximum deck area and hold volume within the key parameters specified in terms of gross tonnage and length between perpendiculars. The hull form of the M2 Runner class provided the template for the latest newbuilds.

The Groningen design engineering consultancy DEKC Maritime had a hand in the project, through responsibility for structural integration of the ramp on the aftship and supply of workshop drawings and production data.


Small-bore, medium-speed machinery of proven design and modest power is the installation of choice in Baltic, wholly characteristic of the Dutch ‘fit for purpose’ approach. A six-cylinder model of Wartsila’s compact W20-series engine produces 1,200kW, geared down from 1,000rpm to drive a comparatively large controllable pitch propeller in an integrated nozzle at 151rpm, affords a service speed of about 12 knots.

Having attracted more than 6,000 sales since its market introduction during the early 1990s, the W20 has a reputation for being robust and reliable. The 200mm-bore diesel can be switched from marine diesel oil (MDO) to heavy fuel oil (HFO) and vice versa without power interruption at any engine load.

Electrical power while underway is derived from an 850kVA/680kW shaft generator, supplementing two 275kVA/220kW diesel generator sets.
First-rate manoeuvring performance is essential to such a vessel, and key facilitators are bow and stern tunnel thrusters of 350kW and 250kW respectively, in conjunction with a flap-type rudder and the specific nature of the underwater hull lines.

Global Seatrade’s management includes former masters of heavy-lift vessels and the parent Hartman Marine Group has its roots in the coasting trades and the captain-owner tradition.

With the R2 Carrier generation, the M2 Runners and the preceding Hartman Trader 18 class, Global Seatrade’s fleet is wholly composed of vessels designed to give a competitive edge in project cargo transportation while also being fully viable in the general shortsea market.

Construction of each has followed a similar pattern of subcontracting to trusted partners, with final delivery from Hartman Marine Shipbuilding.


The exceptionally fast Hartman Trader 18 type was first embodied in the 3,650dwt Deo Volente of 2007. An innovative hull design allows the ship to make 18 knots rather than the 12 knots more representative of shortsea cargo vessels of comparable size, and despite incurring only a moderate increase in fuel consumption. The particular combination of features, including a tandem lift capacity of 240t with a 24m outreach, a very broad cargo carrying capability, and a shallow draught, means that the Trader 18 continues to have an edge over other tonnage in its sector, 10 years on.

The concept was taken forward and refined in three more newbuilds, the Eendracht, Pacific Dawn, and Atlantic, which entered service with Global Seatrade between 2009 and 2011.

The follow-on M2 Runner gearless, multipurpose type applied experience gained with the hydrodynamically-efficient Trader 18 polyvalent vessels, and achieved even greater cargo carrying optimisation and versatility within the 3,000gt paragraph. Intended for heavy and voluminous cargoes, the M2 Runner embraces a total square-metre capacity equivalent to that of substantially larger ships, and benefits from being able to operate in ‘open-top’ condition. With a total hold volume of 219,000ft3 (6,200m3) and a weatherdeck stowage area of 1,200m2, the design offers cargo payloads comparable to those of 6,000dwt vessels.

The 3,500dwt Oceanic gave first form to the M2 Runner design in 2012, followed by sisterships Nordic, Arctic Rock and Northern Rock between 2013 and 2015.

The R2 Carrier Baltic accordingly heralds a new chapter in the fleet’s development, denoting a further response by Hartman Marine and Global Seatrade to evolving market requirements and transport models in the shortsea heavy load/project cargo business.

Having navigated the North Sea (Kiel) Canal on October 22, the towed hull of the second R2 Carrier, the Western Rock, was brought alongside the Urk shipyard’s outfitting quay two days later. With delivery imminent, shipmanagement has been entrusted to Amasus Shipping of Delfzijl.


Length overall


Length, b.p.


Breadth, moulded


Breadth, maximum


Depth, moulded


Draught, summer


Gross tonnage






Hold capacity, without tweendeck


Weatherdeck (flush) dimensions

80.00m x 15.00m

Ro-ro ramp capacity

80t per axle

Main engine power


Service speed



Bureau Veritas

Class notations

+Hull, +Mach, +AUT-UMS (SS), General cargo ship—heavy cargo (120kN/m2), Open Top, Unrestricted navigation




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