Panamax

Another change will be the re-introduction of the forecastle (the raised area at the very front of the ship). This was dropped almost 20 years ago and is blamed for the failure of forward hatchcovers in extreme weather conditions when green water is shipped on deck. The loss of the Derbyshire was when this failure was first bought to light. From the chartering point of view the most far-reaching effect of the changes will be for bulkcarriers to be classed for light, medium or heavy cargoes. Today a bulkcarrier is free to contract for any cargo type but in future only ships suitable constructed and strengthened will be able to carry all types of bulk cargoes. Ships built with medium weight cargoes in mind will be able to carry light cargoes but vessels designed specifically for light bulks will be restricted to those cargoes only. Until these changes are introduced and single skin bulkers phased out, it is justified in looking at the situation that exists today and what features will remain unchanged. Bulkcarriers have distinctive features. They are singledeck vessels, those engaged in deepsea markets and up to 50,000 tonnes deadweight size frequently (but not always) equipped with cranes or, occasionally in older designs, with derricks. The majority of bulkcarriers over this size, however, (as well as many modern short-sea ‘bulkers’), are ‘gearless‘, having no cargo-handling equipment themselves and reliant on shore facilities to be loaded and discharged. They range in approximate size from coastal craft of around 100 tonnes to vessels of over 250,000 tonnes deadweight and, as their name implies, are intended primarily for the transportation of bulk dry-cargo commodities, although they can be adapted for the carriage of other goods – cargoes such as lumber, steel products, containers, and even motor cars. Larger bulkcarriers of between about 60,000 and 70,000 tonnes deadweight are usually constructed with a beam and draft suitable for limitations imposed on the market by the dimensions of the Panama Canal – an important waterway for this type of vessel, giving rise to the term ‘panamax‘.