World’s largest containership enters service

“Very large” was the understated description A.P. Moller-Maersk Group provided of its newest containership when it was delivered on Sept. 1, 2006, at the company’s Odense Steel Shipyard in Denmark.

Emma Maersk is 1,303 feet long. Its beam of 184 feet allows it to stow 22 rows of containers across, four rows more than the next largest ship in service. Maersk said the capacity of about 11,000 TEUs (20-foot equivalent units) includes one thousand 40-foot reefer containers. Some industry experts suggested the capacity could be as many as 13,000 TEUs depending on the loading.

Emma Maersk, the first in its class, exceeds environmental regulations, while achieving very high operational efficiencies. The highly automated ship allows for operation by a crew of 13.

The ship is powered by a Wärtsila 14-cylinder, low-speed diesel rated at a continuous power output of 80,080 kW (108,920 bhp) at 102 rpm. Doosan Engine Co. built the engine. The RT-flex 96C engine, weighing 2,300 tons, is a further advancement of Wärtsila’s existing 12-cylinder RT-flex diesel design used to power smaller containerships.

The new engine uses common-rail technology that replaces camshafts with electronic injection controls to improve fuel efficiency and reduce emissions. According to Wärtsila, during the design work to adapt the earlier RTA 96C diesel to common-rail technology, other changes anticipating the new 14-cylinder machine resulted in “greater stiffness and reduced stresses in the structure.”

Emma Maersk has two electric motors fitted to the propeller drive shaft to augment the diesel propulsion power. The ship’s electrical power is supplied by five diesel generators producing a total of 20,700 kW and one combined gas/steam turbine generator rated at 8,500 kW. As the main engine’s exhaust passes through an exhaust-gas economizer, steam is generated to drive the turbine. According to Wärtsila, “The high-efficiency waste heat recovery plant can provide an electrical output of up to about 12 percent of the main engine power.”

The ship is equipped with two bow and two stern thrusters each rated at 25 tons for port maneuvering. Two pairs of active stabilizer fins provide added cargo protection in rough seas.

The hull design employs the latest concepts to reduce drag. The use of environmentally friendly silicone antifouling coatings also helps to reduce drag. Maersk estimated those features could reduce fuel consumption by 1,200 tons annually.

To reduce the risk of oil spills in the event of an accident, the ship’s fuel tanks are placed centrally in the vessel.

Emma Maersk is operating in Maersk’s Europe-Far East service

By Professional Mariner Staff