European Short Sea fleet is aging

Here is a newbuilding soon to join the fleet:

On Friday the 30th of April, Ferus Smit Nb. 442 was successfully launched at the Ferus Smit yard in Westerbroek. Photo : Joop Bartels © CLICK at the photo to view the video of the launch M.V. ARKLOW ARTIST is the last vessel in a series of 6 that will be delivered to our client from the city of Arklow, Ireland. The design is a bulk oriented general cargo ship that will be mainly employed in the shipment of wheat, corn and other bulk commodities in European waters. The design is a slightly modified version of the first series of 8600 dwt bulkers that Ferus Smit built under the name of Arklow B – series. The new design is adapted for iceclass 1A, with modified bow form and propulsion with a propeller nozzle added. At the same time the main engine output was decreased to 2000 kW for better fuel efficiency. This ship has the following characteristics:
– Loa = 119.495 mtr
– Lpp = 116.895 mtr
– B = 14.99 mtr
– D = 9.70 mtr
– T max = 7.160 mtr
– Hold volume = 350.000 cft

I wonder why all the specs are metric except hold volume that is shown in cubic feet.

Probably old habit. It is most widely used to define reefer space on ships.

Could also be because some freight is measured in Freight ton = 40 cu.ft. (??)

PS> In Europe CBM or metric tonnes weight is most commonly used for freight calculation. thought.

Wouldn’t that number divided by 100 yield the NRT?

This video gives a good impression of what is happening underneath the hull just before the launch, hectic time.


This particular yard where the above ship was launched is situated in the village where I Iive. It used to be a family run yard, for generations, but those days are over. A large part of the inhabitants worked at the yard. My former neighbor was in the design department and was responsible for the calculations of the launches. Earlier they used four tugs to stop the ship. On one occasion wires broken and the stern ended deeply embedded in the other side of the river bank. Since then they attach bundles of heavy anchor chains to the stern. The drag of these stopped the ship in a controlled way and now only two tugs are necessary.

Other mishaps were a ship that refused to be launched. It took a week to free it. Not good publicity. The cause was a different kind of fat that was used on the sledges and that had hardened. And there was the ship that launched itself spontaneously an hour too soon. How do you explain that to the baptismal lady who had looked forward to the occasion… And then later there were crew members who refused to sail on these ships. Such a bad beginning predicts disaster for the ship and its crew. Superstitious? No, just careful.

NRT is a volume measurement based on; 1 RT = 100 Cu.ft but there are a lot of rules and regulations for what is actually measured in NRT calculations.
In this case it was not stated if the cargo hold volume was Grain or Bale.

The NRT of sister ships of Arklow Aritst is given as; 2656 t.

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That sounds like La Ciotat, France. The local dockyard museum has some film of launchings that put big waves over the road on the opposite side of the bay which was not much wider than the length of the ships built at the yard.

The yard is now dedicated to megayacht repairs but the ways and chain bundles are still there.

Displacement is 228.18 x 35.54 x 8.7 x 0.7 = 49378 ton. That amount of water must be pushed out of the way in a hurry and that in a restricted area. With so little space a tsunami/flood can be expected. From launch to stop took about 40 seconds.

I am surprised that right after the launch the propellor is turning ahead. That was 5 seconds after the launch. I suppose that a Diesel engine, for a little while that is, can be started without cooling. Cooling is soon available as the stern is first in the water. Clever.

If it was the diesel engine starting I would have expected at least some smoke out the stack. I don’t see a stack let alone smoke from a starting engine…

No stack on it yet. I wonder if they simply did not connect the shaft to the engine for the launch. I did not see the prop reverse direction at any time, the rotation was consistent with moving astern and stopped within a second or two after the ship stopped. When it was turning it was turning quickly so there is no indication it was spinning up an engine.


I think you are correct.

As I understand it the shaft was probably not connected to the engine and spinning freely driven by the propellor which was driven in its turn by the water flow of the launched vessel?

To avoid the propeller turning during ocean tow of FPSO that still have the propeller installed the shaft is locked. The same apply for the rudder.

PS> The Berge Racine is not exactly a Short sea ship:

This one is leaving the Dutch register:

The CFL PROSPECT being renamed SMP SEVERODVINSK in the Africahaven in Amsterdam photo : Dirk Dijksman (c)

Heavy traffic at the Nieuwe Waterweg passing Maassluis-West : with the outbound SCAN-FJELL ( ex Carten Maria, recently renamed) , passing the EEMS STAR with in the background the inbound TJONGER passing the A2B ENERGY Photo : Reinier van de Wetering Skyphoto Maassluis ©

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Here is one more aging European short sea ship:

The 1999 built RIX ATLANTIC inbound for Antwerp Photo : Huib Lievense ©

The 32 year old Vanuatu flag coaster STAD navigating a choppy Westerschelde
Photo : Mateo Witte ©

A newer coaster, The Dutch flag 14 year old CATHMA riding high whilst navigating the the Dutch coastal waters:

Photo : Flying Focus Aerial Photography ©

LADY NORA is 20 years old and flying the Dutch flag:

The LADY NORA navigating the Westerschelde Photo : Mateo Witte ©