Bulk Carriers

There are various ways to define the term bulk carrier. As of 1999, the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea defines a bulk carrier as “a ship constructed with a single deck, top side tanks and hopper side tanks in cargo spaces and intended to primarily carry dry cargo in bulk; an ore carrier; or a combination carrier.” However, most classification societies use a broader definition where a bulker is any ship that carries dry unpackaged goods Multipurpose cargo ships can carry bulk cargo, but can also carry other cargoes and are not specifically designed for bulk carriage. The term “dry bulk carrier” is used to distinguish bulkers from bulk liquid carriers such as oil, chemical, or liquefied petroleum gas carriers. Very small bulkers are almost indistinguishable from general cargo ships, and they are often classified based more on the ship’s use than its design.
 
A number of abbreviations are used to describe bulkers. “OBO” describes a bulker which carries a combination of ore, bulk, and oil, and “O/O” is used for combination oil and ore carriers. The terms “VLOC,” “VLBC,” “ULOC,” and “ULBC” for very large and ultra large ore and bulk carriers were adapted from the supertanker designations very large crude carrier and ultra large crude carrier.
 

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