Emersion simulation for load optimisation
South Tyneside College is researching how different ballast and propeller emersion levels influence the handling of large ships which carry coal.
The marine simulation department of South Tyneside College in the UK has been working with Targe Towing Limited on a research project to identify the effect of propeller emersion and ballast loads on the handling of bulk carriers.
Targe Towing has been working with Kaltim Prima Coal (KPC) in Indonesia for twenty years at one of the largest open cast coal mines in the world, stretching over 300 sq/km. A large conveyor belt transfers the coal to a loading berth 2km out to sea where it is loaded onto the vessels. The mine currently extracts 45m tons of coal per year, more than half of which is loaded over a single berth. KPC is looking to increase its capacity to load 8,000 tons per hour.
To enable KPC to achieve this, a solution needs to be found which allows the vessels to carry less ballast to ensure quicker loading without having an adverse impact on the handling of the ship.
Tom Woolley, managing director of Targe, has been working closely with South Tyneside College. He said, “We are currently researching how different ballast and propeller emersion levels influence the handling of the large ships which carry the coal. We are hoping to find a solution how to reduce the ballast level in each ship safely, as de-ballasting is slower than the loading rate, which can delay the whole loading process.
“The facilities at the College and the expertise of the staff here have allowed us to run effective trials and we are confident we will find an optimum level for each vessel type from Panamaxes to Capes, which will lead to significant savings for KPC.”
Chris Thompson, head of the School for Simulation and Senior Marine at South Tyneside College explained, “To start this project we made an accurate database of the existing loading berth to allow us to create a simulation of vessel operations. We then made a ship model for our bridge simulator to reflect existing Panamax and Cape size carriers used to transport the coal. By doing this we can allow the pilots to experiment with propeller emersion levels and ballast loads in a safe but incredibly realistic environment.“
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