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Stena V-MAX: A Total Concept for Safe Oil Transportation in Confined Waters

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When the first Stena V-MAX vessel, the Stena Vision, entered the Delaware River on her maiden voyage in the summer of 2001 (as this symposium [MEETS01] was being held in Washington) she marked the realization of a project that started almost five years earlier. In October 1996 the 1975-built Stena Constellation made the same voyage up to Philadelphia as the first VLCC ever to dock at the Fort Mifflin terminal. The operation involved a new scenario compared with the normal open-water VLCC trading, and all the parties involved contributed to assess risks and establish safe procedures for the different phases. As the operation developed, so did ideas on an improved ship design which would be better suited to do the job on a year-round basis. This led to a new type of VLCC with wide beam and shallow draft, the V-MAX. Apart from carrying a significantly larger amount of cargo, the V-MAX is also uniquely equipped to cope with the challenges and hazards of the river passage, making oil transportation to Philadelphia both safer and more efficient compared with her predecessors. In the world of today we avoid flying passengers in single-engine aircraft. Similarly we should strive to avoid a situation where a single technical failure on an oil tanker could lead to an ecological disaster. The twin propellers and rudders are the most visible features, which, apart from redundancy against single failures, give the wide hull superior maneuvering characteristics. These and numerous other technical aspects and operational considerations make the V-MAX represent not only a new ship but also a complete concept for safe oil transportation in narrow waters. This paper outlines the background and evolution of the V-MAX concept and describes the specific features which contribute to effectively reduce risk when operating in narrow and heavily trafficked areas.


Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 2002

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  • Marine Technology is dedicated to James Kennedy, 1867-1936, marine engineer, and longtime member of the Society, in recognition and appreciation of his sincere and generous interest in furthering the art of ship design, shipbuilding, ship operation, and related activities.

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