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Roll-on Roll-off ships

Structural arrangement of a typical ship

Assignment 1 in Marine structural engineering MMA167

ANDERSSON ERIK
GUHRÉN AXEL
SAM C M NYGREN

Department of Shipping and Marine Technology


Division of Marine Design
CHALMERS UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY
Göteborg, Sweden, 2012
1 Summary
This report will briefly explain what Ro-Ro ships are used for, what the purpose is and how the future
trends look like. It will also explain the benefits and drawback with this type of ship regarding the
structure design.

What is a Ro-Ro ship? Ro-Ro is an abbreviation for Roll on – Roll off which means that the ship is built
for transporting vehicles. The special type of cargo handling leads to a special type of structural
design which has an impact on different parameters, for example stability. More of that is explained
in the report. The requirement of using Ro-Ro ships comes from the market where a large portion of
the vehicles are built in one place in the world but used in another.

Ro-Ro ships also have problems with the very big free surfaces areas in the ships. One of the biggest
problems is the lack of transverse bulkheads which make this type of ships more vulnerable in case of
an accident. Instead of transverse bulkheads, there are different types of structural designs in the
vertical side frames. In this report the general structural arrangement will be mentioned followed by
a presentation of the two most common designs, hinged design (also known as the flexible design)
and the conventional design. The different designs are developed to absorb forces and bending
moments in areas that is typically weak for Ro-Ro ships.

How do Ro-Ro ships affect the market? One of the biggest benefits with Ro-Ro ships is that it can be
loaded and unloaded in a very short time which reduces the port times. Depending on how big and
advanced the ramp system is the capacity can be raised and port times reduced even more.

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Table of Contents
1 Summary.......................................................................................................................................... 1

3 Historical background...................................................................................................................... 3

4 Structural Design ............................................................................................................................. 5

4.1 Class rules ................................................................................................................................ 6

4.2 Fatigue assesment ................................................................................................................... 6

4.3 Global and local effects ........................................................................................................... 7

4.4 Ramps ...................................................................................................................................... 7

4.4.1 Internal ramp ................................................................................................................... 8


4.4.2 Stern ramp ....................................................................................................................... 9
4.4.3 Side ramp......................................................................................................................... 9
4.4.4 Quarter ramp................................................................................................................... 9
4.4.5 Slewing stern ramp ........................................................................................................ 10
5 Sources .......................................................................................................................................... 12

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2 Historical background
Horizontal cargo handling is probably the oldest way of loading and unloading a ship. On the Bayeux
Tapestry, William the Conqueror can be seen sailing from Normandy to England carrying horses on
his ships for the battle of Hastings. Maybe he even unloaded his horses by ramps. (Wikipedia, Battle
of Hastings (2012))

Figure 1. Battle displayed on the Bayeux Tapestry.

In the 19th century ferries for transport of train carriages where bridges could not be built long
enough were developed. (Wikipedia, Ro-Ro (2012))The development of today’s Ro-Ro ships can be
said to begin with the first craft without railways for wheeled transport of cargo on and off the ship
might be the nine British Motor Landing Craft built in the 1920s and 1930s. They could carry one tank
each of about 10 ton at a speed of 5-6 knots. (Wikipedia, Motor Landing Craft (2012)) During World
War II wide range of crafts with displacement up to hundreds of tones where developed.

Figure 2. Sea trials with a Motor Landing Craft.

The Landing Ship, Tank Mk 2 is one of the absolute first real Roll on Roll of ships and after the Liberty
ships one of the largest ship series ever built with about 1000 ships. It was design to be able to sail
from the US east coast yards over the Atlantic. It had two decks with an elevator connecting the

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decks. Full scale testing of a mock-up was carried out at Fort Knox to resolve the ventilation problem
on well deck due to the exhausts from the tank motors.

Figure 3. Description of Landing Ship, Tank, Mk 2 showing some of the characteristic details for a Ro-Ro ship: connected
cargo decks (in this case by elevator), ventilation, watertight doors (at the bow) and ramp for loading and off-loading.

The Mk 3 is similar but built to British specifications and since diesel engines were not available they
used steam power plants meant for cancelled frigates. At the end of the war, the idea that if you
could roll tanks, trucks and other military equipment directly onto a ship and then roll them off at a
beach, the same could be done with civilian equipment was developed. Three British LSTs where
hired by Atlantic Steam Navigation Company from the Admiralty and modified for this purpose. On
11 September 1946 the Empire Baltic, former HMS LST 3519 sailed from Tilbury to Rotterdam with 64
vehicles. The vessel used the same method as during wartime landings and beached using the stern
anchor as mooring. In this way both the first commercial Ro/Ro ship and the first commercial Ro/Ro
terminal were born. Empire Cedric, former HMS LST 3534 was given a passenger certificate in 1948
thus becoming the first commercial Ro/Pax ship. (Wikipedia, Landing Ship, Tank (2012))

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3 Structural Design
The cargo (mostly vehicles) are using own propulsion to load and discharge, it will be loaded via a
ramp and an opening in the hull. The number of hull openings is keept to a minimum for obvious
safety reasons; this results in a design absent transverse bulkheads in order for the cargo to be
loaded. Furthermore the number of pillars is keept to a minimum in order to maximize the cargo
intake. (Dr.N.R. Mandal, 2011). Instead of pillars the Ro-Ro ships have deep transverse deck girders
that carries the deck load. Furthermore the racking moment of each tansverse frame is carried by the
frame itself. (DNV, 2011)

The hull of a ro-ro ship is a closed structure, this can be seen in Error! Reference source not found.,
which results in torsion not being an issue. Transverse bulkheads are not a requirement for structural
purpose since ro-ro ships have a multi deck structure that adds transverse strength. Apart from the
sideshell with transverse stiffeners and the double bottom with platefloor and sidegirders the
primary stiffeners are longitudinal plate stiffeners. Like other ship types there are collision bulkheads
in the forepeak and aftpeak. (Dr.N.R. Mandal, 2011)

Figure 4 an example of a cross-section of a Ro-Ro ship

The structural design for a Ro-Ro vessel is being part of a complex 2-dimensional or 3-dimensional
structural system, and to be an approved vessel it must have a structural analysis including loads and
acceptance criteria according to the Rules for Classification of Ships. There are two types of structural
concepts for Ro-Ro vessels. One is the “hinged design”, also called as the flexible design and the
other one is the conventional rigid design. (DNV, 2011)

Let’s first talk about the hinged design. Hinged deck means that the vertical side frame is not in line
with the deck transverse girder. No bending moment is induced in the transverse deck girder when
the deck is exposed to transverse forces. Instead, the vertical side will deform as a cantilever beam
supported at the freeboard deck is able to carry a reduced portion of the racking force on the
transverse frame. Then, other main structures such as engine- and stair casings, deep racking webs
and strengthened ventilation trunks are activated and contribute as racking constraining structure
together with the bow and the stern region. Take a look at Figure 5a, the distance between the
flexible hinge and the face plate of the side girder should be made as small as possible. (DNV, 2011)

The conventional design works in a different way. Take a look a Figure 5b, as it can be seen the
vertical side webs are in line with the deck transverses. The transverse forces on the deck will then
induce bending of the deck transverses. Compared to the hinged design, the frame section is more
rigid when exposed to transverse forces. (DNV, 2011)

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a b

Figure 5a & 5b.

The total capacity of the racking constraining structures has to be the same for a hinged design as for
the conventional design. (DNV, 2011)

3.1 Class rules


There is a wide range of class rules that need to be taken into account when designing a Ro-Ro
vessel. A few examples of rules are mentioned below. (DNV, 1980)

As mentioned Ro-Ro’s have no or very few transverse bulkheads in the cargo area, thus web frames
is needed to increase the transverse strength. The classrules state that the dimensions can not be
based on rule requirements alone but must be designed based on frame analysis. A high free height
in the cargo area is desired and therefore the girder system needs extra material to keep the bending
and shear stresses low.

Ro-Ro ships are typical hogging-ships due to the superstructure normally being placed at the aft,
ballast in the fore peak (to compensate for trim by stern) and the lightweight of the cargo. The rules
state that the max stillwater hogging-moment may be 50% of the standard moment. Although most
Ro-Ro’s never experience sagging they should also be designed to withstand sagging moments up to
50% of the minimum section modulus requirements. Furthermore this is the basis for buckling
strength of deck and upper ship side with transverse framing.

The plates being part of the longitudinal strength material are extra prone to buckling and this needs
to be checked with accordance to the rules. Increased plate thicknes may be necessary in areas with
high girder bending moments.

3.2 Fatigue assesment


A Ro-Ro vessel should be designed for atleast a 20 year lifespan, thus fatigue assesment needs to be
carried out for critical details. A few examples of details that need fatigue assesment: Abrupt
connections subjected to dynamic loads in the structure are prone to crack, therefore the weld
connections need fatigue assesment. However welds can be grinded to increase the fatigue life. As
mentioned before there is a limited number of transverse bulkheads therefore fatigue assesment is
necessary for the connection between transverse deck girders and vertical girders. Connections
where vertical girders are considered fixed to rigid body and pillar connections to transverse deck
girders and inner bottom also needs detailed investigation. (DNV, 2011)

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3.3 Global and local effects
Requirements to maximum width and height for cargo spaces will give problems with bending and
stress. To limit bending and shear stresses heavy flanges and increased web thickness is used. This
will generate a girder system that is not weight-optimal. By reducing the free width and height by a
small fraction will in many cases resolve strength and weight issues. Installing one or two rows of
pillars might solve deflection problems but reduce lane meters. High tensile steel in exposed
structural elements can also be an alternative in order to reduce weight. (DNV, 1980)

The girder must also be designed against different point loads. Around pillars high shear forces may
occur which must be specially considered. Transport of heavy cargo on wheels and stowing of heavy
cargo and containers will give heavy point loads on one deck girder and little or no load on adjacent
girders. This will increase the requirements for deck plates and stiffeners beyond the requirements
based by distributed loads. It is also recommended to use a multiplum fraction of length or breadth
of containers or other unitized cargo as distance between girders. (DNV, 1980)

Figure 6. Girder system.

3.4 Ramps
There are a number of different types of ramps both internally and externally. Ramps can be fixed or
movable in different ways, for space requirements and to form a water or airtight seal. Their designs
are govern by the load and port facilities. Cars and trailers traveling between ports with advanced
link spans will result in one type of flow when onloading and offloading and oversized and heavy
equipment traveling between ports with only rudimental facilities will result in a different type of
flow. Ramps up to ten or twelve meters are usually in one section and larger ramp can be divided
into two or three sections. One main characteristic is whether the ramp seals the opening or if it is
combined with a door. Normally the seal itself is a compression bar pressed against a rubber packing
around the opening of the hull. Hydraulically operated hooks both give the sealing pressure and
secure the ramp. The opening in the hull and the door/ramp cannot skew more than eight or ten
millimeters in order for the sealing to remain watertight.1 Large openings with large ramps divided
into more than one section are therefore combined with a door. Most hoistable ramps are
connected to the ship by a hinge line. The hinge line is composed by main hinges that can carry both
axial and radial load and support hinges that only carries radial load. The loads on these hinges and
other connections between the ramp and the ship are provided by the ramp manufacturer to the
ship designer in interface drawings trough an iterative design process. Almost all Ro-Ro equipment
has previously been hydraulically operated. But the dominating trend is to use more and more
electric motors instead. (Cargotech, 2012)

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Lukas Johansson (Sales Engineer, MacGregor RoRo) Interviewed by Sam C M Nygren (2012-11-09)

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Figure 7. Ramp sealing.

3.4.1 Internal ramp


The internal ramps are of course one of the main design features of a Ro-Ro ship. Different owners
have different ideas of what’s best for their particular trade. 2

Figure 8. Side-hinged ramp cover with foldable handrails

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Lukas Johansson (Sales Engineer, MacGregor RoRo) Interviewed by Sam C M Nygren (2012-11-09)

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Figure 9. Tilting ramp, in order to allow discharge in both directions, both ends are hoistable. When closed it forms a
watertight closure.

3.4.2 Stern ramp


Many modern Ro-Ro terminals make it possible to use stern ramps. The ramp has almost the full
breadth of the ship, which give a high efficiency. The length of the ramp depends on the main deck
height in combination with the height of the quay. Tidal water can demand a longer ramp but this
can be compensated with a link span. In some cases link spans make it possible to access two decks
simultaneously. The ramp is almost always utilized as watertight door.

3.4.3 Side ramp


On car carriers side ramps are almost always used. It is not unusual that they can be hoisted between
two or three deck levels.

3.4.4 Quarter ramp


Also called angled ramp or in its larger variants jumbo ramp is the “premium product no 1” according
to Johansson3. Enables high efficiency but do not require a special Ro-Ro terminal. It is by tradition
installed on the starboard side but port side ramps can be found in China and Japan. The angle to the
center line varies from 30-90˚. Car carriers usually have narrower ramps at a smaller angle which
gives a shorter more lightweight ramp. Deep-sea Ro-Ro vessels on the other hand have higher
requirements on breadth and load capacity. To be able to have a high flow even with slow moving
oversized loads on the ramp they need a wide ramp. Therefore the opening in the hull is large and
has a high angle to the centerline. This gives a long and heavy ramp that is usually divided in two or
three parts. The major part of the weight of the ramp and the vehicles on the ramp are supported by
the quay. The jumbo ramp therefore requires a wider ramp foot than smaller ramps. Sometimes it
can be combined by additional supports under along the length of the ramp that spans over the
quay. To limit the loads of the quay even further it also to be supported by the wires for lowering and
hoisting.

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Lukas Johansson (Sales Engineer, MacGregor RoRo) Interviewed by Sam C M Nygren (2012-11-09)

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Figure 10. Atlantic Companion with its jumbo ramp, able to carry the transformer below. The hoisting and lowering of
the ramp is controlled from the cab just aft of the funnel, adjustments can be made with a portable control box.

Figure 11. Transformer with a weight of 248 tonnes.

3.4.5 Slewing stern ramp


The slewing stern ramp can have three different positions: port, starboard and aft. This gives almost
no limitations on which ports it can use. However these are very rare since Ro-Ro ships are almost
always built for a specific trade.

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Figure 12. Slewing with three available positions for unloading, starboard, port and aft.

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4 Sources
(Dr.N.R.Mandal (2011) Mod-01 Lec-15 RO-RO Ship. [YouTube] http://www.youtube.com (2012-11-
12))

(2012-11-02) Battle of Hastings [Wikipedia] http://www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki (2012-11-07)

(2012-10-22) Ro-Ro [Wikipedia] http://www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki (2012-11-07)

(2012-09-07) Motor Landing Craft [Wikipedia] http://www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki (2012-11-07)

(2012-10-23) Landing Ship, Tank [Wikipedia] http://www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki (2012-11-07)

DET NORSKE VERITAS (DNV). (2011) STRENGTH ANALYSIS OF HULL STRUCTURE IN ROLL ON/ROLL
OFF SHIPS AND CAR CARRIERS

DET NORSKE VERITAS (DNV). (1980) DESIGN AND CLASSIFICATION OF ROLL ON /ROLL OFF SHIPS

Straight stern ramps (technical datasheet - screen)_Original_37186 (2012) http://www.cargotec.com


(2012-11-07)

Brochure 'Deepsea RoRo vessels' (screen) id 44459_Original_44459 (2012) http://www.cargotec.com


(2012-11-07)

Brochure 'Electrically-driven RoRo equipment - environmentally and cargo friendly


(screen)_Original_44846 (2012) http://www.cargotec.com (2012-11-07)

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