Bulker Ships

Bulker Ships International Convention for safety of life at sea(SOLAS) defines bulk carrier as “single deck, top side tanks and hopper side tanks in cargo spaces and intended to primarily carry cargo in bulk; an ore carrier; or a combination carrier”. Though this definition is not thoroughly followed by various classification societies yet they follow a broader version of it in some way or the other. Commonly known as a bulk carrier, bulk freighter or bulker, it’s a type of ship used to transport ores, cement, cereals and coal from one place to another. They have their origin dated back in the mid of the 19 century around 1857 and today they constitute one-third of the world’s merchant fleet. They range in size from mammoth sized ore ships to single hold mini bulkers.

Discussed further are some types of bulkers:

Geared Bulker: These types of bulk carriers have got their own equipment or carrier to unload and load cargo in the form of cranes or derricks.

Gearless Carriers: These types of carriers depend on the on-shore facilities for providing the equipments to unload and load cargo. They do not carry gears of their own.

Combined Carriers: They can carry ore and bulk simultaneously and can even carry oil in its wing tanks. They are complex in design and are relatively costlier to make and maintain.

BIBO(Bulk in, Bulk out Carriers): These type of carriers are specially equipped to provide the services of bagging cargo at loading time.

Lakers: These types of carriers are commonly found on prominent lakes and they can be easily identified by a forward house which helps in transiting locks.

Self Dischargers: These types of bulkers have a conveyer belt or excavator which is used to unload cargo quickly and efficiently. Another way of classifying Bulk Carriers is according to their size. According to this classification these are of the following types: Small; Handysize; Handymax; Panama; Capesize; Mammoth size

Some Interesting Facts: Japan, Greece and China are the top three owners of bulk carriers and account for 53% of the world’s total fleet of bulk carriers. Asian companies manufacture the largest number of bulk freighters in the world. A bulker may be used for various types of cargoes throughout the year. In one season it may be used to carry cereals, in another ore and likewise. Loading and unloading on a bulker is often time consuming and dangerous and hence is well planned by the ship’s captain and chief mate.

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