'Thank God I won't be on board' – Maersk methanol ship design under fire -

Having sailed on car ships with the house forward I’m skeptical that this design is going to be anywhere near a problem as this article makes it to be.

This for example.,

The former captain added that with the master perched at the very front of the 350-metre vessel, maneuvering would prove extremely difficult.

It is an adjustment at first but after a while it’s not an issue.

Maersk has pre-empted some of these misgivings, stating that the bridge would feature improved crew comfort. And in a recent Loadstar interview, Ole Graa Jakobsen, head of fleet technology, explained that Maersk had performed simulations which, it believed replicated the sensations and accelerations the crew would likely face, showing them to be “within tolerable limits”, akin to “what would be experienced in a smaller vessel”.

Nothing against modifications to the wheelhouse, but my experiences with forward house ships have to do with the living on the “bouncy” end of the ship. The crew has to sleep, eat, exercise, etc. Hit a winter storm or a hurricane and hat is likely not going to happen for several days with this design.

I am also skeptical of a company stating that the forces and moments in anything this size are going to be comparable to a smaller vessel.

I agree with KC on the conning thing though. You get used to wheel over points a little sooner and looking toward the stern to gauge rate of turn. But still. It’s a terrible design from a crew’s perspective.

Add X-Bow and the problem with crew comfort in bad weather is reduced, if not eliminated:


Work in progress to develop emission free version:

Not familiar with the advantages of X-Bow? Here is a video for you:

What do those who have actual experience with X-Bow say:

Yes, keep on working, work sets you free…


Regarding that video, you would think that they would have been able to show it in action in some actual heavy sea conditions. In every video segment except one, the sea is so flat my dinghy wouldn’t rock.


Eh, doesn’t look bad. The USNS SUPPLY and USNS COMFORT classes have forward houses where the bridge is located and the deck officers live. I never noticed more pitching/slamming up there. Conning from a forward house didn’t seem to cause anyone any trouble. Certainly no one complained about it.

Not being able to see behind is easily fixed with tech. Cameras and screens.

The forward accomodation takes some getting used to when conning but there’s many ships like that, and crew comfort… Meh, who cares right?

I would be more worried about the fuel system, methanol is poisonous, has a low flash point and burns with an invisible flame. It can be done of course, especially on a newbuild rather than a conversion, but it will require some big changes in how the fuel is handled in the engine room.

Only advantage is that the antidote to methyl poisoning is saturating the liver with ethanol… e.g. if you suspect you’ve gotten a whiff of fuel you need to get roaring drunk.

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I think they should make the bridge taller than the container stack and/or bridge wings to increase visibility. Having worked on forward house ships, they all but eliminate vibration from the engine so you can sleep better BUT in a storm you will feel the pounding much more. So its a give and take. Also with methanol being potentially dangerous for the crew maybe that is why the accommodation is forward? Someone told be those new LNG Crowley ships leak gas i and makes the crew nauseous- don’t know if that is true. Does anybody have info on gas fueled ships with Crowley or another company does this happen?

Going to be a hell of a duty night for the engineer.

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The best location of a ship’s bridge is of course as far forward as possible, so the watch keepers can see, hear and feel what is going on just below and in front of the shipI It enables you to slow down, when it gets too rough, and change course, etc. On a bridge 300 meters aft of the bow, you haven"t got a clue what is happening up front so you easily fall asleep at the the wheel. Of course the best place of any ship in a storm as a passenger is on open deck aft looking at the horizon breathing fresh air avoiding getting seasick.

In 1970 Ulstein Shipyard built a tug for a Swedish company that did not have any mast or other reference point visible from the steering position. This made it difficult to steer visibly:

That was solved by adding a little “appendix” at the centreline in front of the wheelhouse window.

This became known as a “styrepinne” (Steering stick), which also happened to be a nickname for Mate (Styrmann)

PS> you may be able to see this “devise” on the picture above:

I like the Yno 61 - Neptun tug. Especially the lifeboats. I have never bought a tug but my brother once bought a complete Swedish tug company! But no tug there had lifeboats.

While the vent mast is located just above the open bridge wing, somehow I doubt it would continuously leak enough gas to make the crew nauseous unless there’s something seriously wrong with the gas fuel system because the gas should be quite diluted by the time it reaches the bridge wing. A significant leak elsewhere (e.g. engine room), on the other hand, should set off an alarm.

Yes, indeed! The first one, in particular is excellent, as it shows the contrast between the X-bow and a conventional vessel.

Better is just to slow down or change course for a while.



I have sailed in an X-bow vessel and they are much better than conventional vessels in a head sea. Over the years I have had to adjust from all aft 400,000 dwt tankers to Ro-Ro and AHTS where the accommodation was forward. You adjust.

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The MV Stewart J Cort is a Great Lakes 1,000 ft vessel with a forward house. It has operated safely since the mid-70’s and was the 1st 1,000 foot vessel on the Lakes. Ironically, it was given a forward house because at the time all the other Great Lakes freighters had forward houses and the designers weren’t sure that an aft house would work.

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Looks like someone has take heed of the complains about forward house:

The AUTOSKY outbound navigating the Caland canal passing Heerema’s SSCV THIALF
Photo: Fred Mos o/b SSCV Thialf ©

UECC have also taken delivery of the first dual fuel/battery hybrid PCTC:

With the house a bit further aft than most PCTCs