Marad unveils designs for America's Marine Highways vessels

amhmicroThe U.S. Maritime Administration says that it has  released a report detailing new designs for shipping vessels specifically engineered for America's Marine Highways. Unfortunately a link provided to the report by Marad actually leads only to the ship designs themselves, which appear to have been created by Herbert Engineering.. There is no information on what might induce any shipowner to order any of them, how they might be paid for or, for that matter, what they might cost. However a press release does say that Marad has also signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the U.S. Navy under which Marad and the Navy could provide up to $800,000 to advance two or three of these new concept designs to the next stage of design development, with the ultimate goal of constructing multiple vessels in U.S. shipyards. The new vessel designs "meet a portion of the U.S. military's sealift needs in times of war or during national emergencies," says Marad.

The press release says that "production of these efficient, environmentally-friendly vessels could bolster the domestic shipbuilding industry by creating new jobs and strengthening regional economies."

"This is another step in helping America's Marine Highways move our economy and relieve congestion on our roads," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.  "The U.S. maritime industry is vital to our economy and our security.  These vessel designs will bolster both in a way that maximizes efficiency while minimizing environmental impact."

Eleven designs have been created for new shipping vessels that can transport cargoes that would otherwise be trucked over congested roadways.  The innovative designs focus primarily on roll-on roll-off vessels intended to carry wheeled cargo such as automobiles, trucks and trailers or railroad cars that are driven on and off the ship on their own wheels.


The designs include six roll-on roll-off (RO/RO) vessels (one of them a gas turbine powered 30 knot Fastship and another a trimaran), three combination RO/RO-container carriers (one of which is an ATB), a feeder containership, and a RO/RO-passenger ferry (for which, a note says, LNG propulsion is an option).  The RO/RO and RO/RO-container vessels carry various types of vehicles, but are primarily intended for tractor-trailers and stackable containers. The feeder containership can support standard-sized containers stacked both below and above deck, and the RO/RO-passenger ferry can transport tractor trailers along with their drivers.

"These designs are a road-map to a brighter future for the men and women who serve our nation at sea," said Unites States Maritime Administrator David Matsuda. "By bringing cutting-edge technology to America's maritime workforce, our country can be a global leader in shipbuilding."

You can look at the designs HERE (Clicking on each leads  to a 2 page PDF with more details)

November 30, 2011

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