Bulk Carrier

Bulk Carrier

A bulk carrier, bulk freighter, or bulker is a merchant ship specially designed to transport unpackaged bulk cargo, such as grains, coal, ore, and cement in its cargo holds. Since the first specialized bulk carrier was built in 1852, economic forces have fuelled the development of these ships, causing them to grow in size and sophistication. Today's bulkers are specially designed to maximize capacity, safety, efficiency, and to be able to withstand the rigours of their work.

Today, bulkers make up 40% of the world's merchant fleets and range in size from single-hold mini-bulkers to mammoth ore ships able to carry 400,000 metric tons of deadweight (DWT). A number of specialized designs exist: some can unload their own cargo, some depend on port facilities for unloading, and some even package the cargo as it is loaded. Over half of all bulkers have Greek, Japanese, or Chinese owners and more than a quarter are registered in Panama. Korea is the largest single builder of bulkers, and 82% of these ships were built in Asia.

A bulk carrier's crew participates in the loading and unloading of cargo, navigating the ship, and keeping its machinery and equipment properly maintained. Loading and unloading the cargo is difficult, dangerous, and can take up to 120 hours on larger ships. Crews can range in size from three people on the smallest ships to over 30 on the largest.

Bulk cargo can be very dense, corrosive, or abrasive. This can present safety problems: cargo shifting, spontaneous combustion, and cargo saturation can threaten a ship. The use of ships that are old and have corrosion problems has been linked to a spate of bulker sinkings in the 1990s, as have the bulker's large hatchways, important for efficient cargo handling. New international regulations have since been introduced to improve ship design and inspection, and to streamline the process of abandoning ship.

Read more about Bulk CarrierDefinition, History, Fleet Characteristics, Architecture, Safety

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... In December 2002, Chapter XII of the SOLAS convention was amended to require the installation of high-level water alarms and monitoring systems on all bulkers ... This safety measure quickly alerts watch standers on the bridge and in the engine room in case of flooding in the holds ...
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... The company is composed of tanker and bulk carrier divisions, with product tanker activity accounting for the majority of the business ... TORM is one of the leading tanker carriers of clean oil products such as gasoline, jet fuel, naphtha and diesel oil and other clean products ... TORM’s bulk carrier division focuses mainly on the Panamax bulk carrier sector, carrying various bulk commodities, but principally grain, coal and iron ore ...

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