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A study of the basic ship types used for carriage of cargo.



general cargo vessels

container carriers
bulk carriers liquid cargo ships such as crude oil tankers

and product carriers


General Cargo ships

Sometimes called general purpose ships

The earliest type of ships

Only with greater cargo volumes do other

ship types appear, specialising in different cargoes

General Cargo ships General description

general cargo refers to its ability to carry a variety of

commodities They are carried in a variety of forms, such as sacks, boxes, pallets, or even in containers. Designated holds can also contain bulk or refrigerated cargoes. Cargo liners are general cargo ships engaged in international trade between specific ports and on regular schedules. Tramp ships have no set trade route or schedule but plies between ports all over the world, picking up and discharging cargo along the route. Usually they are fitted with cargo handling gears of higher capacity.

Inside the cargo hold



Tramp ship with huge cranes

Features of general cargo ships

Speed is usually at about 12-18 knots.

Adequate space to carry the cargo and facilities for

handling the cargo are two important factors. The machinery is usually placed one compartment forward of the aft hold. Access to the cargo spaces is through hatchways (large openings in the deck) and these must have coverings (hatch covers). Provision for loading and unloading cargo and this consists of derricks or cranes.

Cargo Hold, Hatch, Hatch Cover

Large hold for stowage of cargo

Main Engine of ship

Machinery space before aft hold

General Cargo ship with Derricks

Cargo Derrick

General Cargo ship with Cranes

Cargo Crane

Features of general cargo ships contd

Space for the carriage of water ballast (to

cause the ship to immerse more in the water) are the fore and aft peak tanks Double bottom tanks are used for carriage of ballast (sea) water and oil fuel. Machinery space is usually placed one compartment forward of the aft hold. This improves the vessels trim when it is partially loaded. The accommodation space is usually just above the machinery space.

Longitudinal Section General cargo ship

Features of general cargo ships contd

Tween decks are fitted in the cargo holds. These tween decks offer greater flexibility in loading and unloading of cargo, and prevents fragile cargo from being crushed at the bottom.

Inside a Tween-deck

Transverse Midship Section General cargo ship

Cargo ship with folding hatch covers