How big is a ship?
What kind of fuel is used to power the ship?
Here are some fun facts about ships
that you may or may not be aware of.
The History and Future of Marine Fuels
Ocean transport using ships has been around since ancient times. Fuels and propulsion systems have come and gone, and transport capacity has been improved with modernization, but today, efforts to reduce environmental impact are accelerating. Let’s take a look at how fuels have changed over the years.
Before fuel was used as a source of power to move ships, mariners relied on wind for propulsion. In the 15th century, large sailing ships, called carrack ships, were built mainly in Spain and Portugal, and in 1492, Columbus crossed the Atlantic Ocean on the Santa Maria. And from 1519-22, Magellan’s Victoria completed a circumnavigation of the world. Sailing ships continued to develop, opening up new horizons of exploration and trade.
In the 1800s, the Industrial Revolution brought steam engines and coal-fueled steamships gradually became popular. In 1807, the Clermont, an outer-wheel steamboat, began commercial service carrying passengers between New York City and Albany on the Hudson River. In 1878, 25 years after the arrival of the “black ships” in Japan, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines built its first steamer, the Hideyoshi Maru, to transport coal produced in the Miike coal mine.
In the 1900s, oil superseded coal as the mainstream marine fuel. Oil has a higher energy density than coal, meaning more energy can be gained from the same volume. This meant less onboard space had to be devoted to fuel storage, so ships could carry more cargo. It also eliminated the need to constantly shovel coal into the boilers, reducing the number of crewmembers needed. Since the 1950s, a fuel called marine heavy fuel oil, made up largely from residues generated in the oil refining process, came into wide use, and remains the mainstream marine fuel to this day.
Heavy fuel oil is an inexpensive and convenient fuel, but its combustion in an engine generates air pollutants such as sulfur oxides (SOx) and nitrogen oxides (NOx), and greenhouse gases (GHGs) such as CO2. For this reason, marine emission regulations have been progressively tightened for ships, as with automobile emission regulations. The shipping and shipbuilding industries are working toward the goal of zero-emission vessels, and various initiatives are underway to enable the use of new next-generation marine fuels to achieve zero emissions from ships.
Once Again, Challenging the Future of the Earth with the Power of Wind
The “Wind Challenger” uses sails to utilize wind power, a renewable energy source, for propulsion of the ship. The installation of sails allows vessels to maintain the same speed while reducing their use of fossil fuels. By maximizing the installation of sails, in other words, combining the time-honored technology of sailing ships with modern state-of-the-art equipment and expertise, it’s possible to significantly reduce the fuel consumption of large cargo vessels, which in turn reduces GHG emissions.
How big is a ship?
Today’s large merchant vessels can measure up to around 400 meters long. That’s about the same dimensions as the height of Tokyo Tower, or the width of Tokyo Station.In addition, the distance from the keel of the vessel to the tip of the funnel is about 65 meters, which is equivalent to an 18-story building.
How many crews are necessary to run a vessel?
As you have read, huge merchant vessels transport large volumes of cargo, but these massive ships require only about 25 people to keep them on the move. Following is an overview of the work of the crewmembers onboard a vessel.
※ The number of crewmembers depends on the type of ship and the type of contract. But most mainstream vessels require 20 to 30 crewmembers.
Skillfully maneuvering huge vessels
to safely deliver cargo
●Navigation Officers (First ~ Third),
Able Seamen (A/B), etc.
Maneuvering and navigation duty/voyage planning/cargo management/hull maintenance/ communication with shore, other vessels
Maintaining huge engines
to keep them operating at peak performance
Operation and management of main and auxiliary engines/repair and maintenance of all onboard machinery/power generation and desalination for ship operation and daily life/bunkering planning and bunkering
Supporting the lives of crewmembers
●Purser 2nd Steward, 2nd Cook
Preparing meals for crewmembers