Back in 2011, South Korea-based Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering(DSME) company was commissioned by Maersk to build a fleet of the world’s largest ships, as part of a $3.8 billion contract. The Maersk Triple E series consists of 20 mammoth cargo ships, about 400 metres(1312 feet) in length and 59 metres(149 feet) in width, that boast of surprisingly impressive eco-friendly credentials. Recently for WIRED UK’s September issue, Copenhagen-based photographer Alastair Philip Wiper got the opportunity to trail the shipbuilding site at South Korea’s Opko port.
‘Triple E’ stands for “Economy of scale, Energy efficient and Environmentally improved”: three predominant design principles incorporated into the constructions of the ships. An improved version of Maersk’s E-class ships, these colossal vessels will traverse the Europe-Asia trade route. With a cargo carrying capacity of 18,270 20-foot containers, they are also the world’s most efficient cargo ships. Although only slightly bigger than the E-class variety, these ships can carry as many as 2500 containers more than the former.
The ships come equipped with a host of on-board amenities, including a swimming pool and a small movie theater, all for a crew of 15 people. Unlike the conventional vessels that use single engines, the Triple E ships run on ultra-long-stroke, twin diesel engines, possessing two separate propellers. At 19 knots(35km/h, the speed of these ships is a bit lower than the 23-26 knots(42.6-48.15 km/h) speed of the traditional varieties.
However, the dual-engine allows more optimised pressure distribution, thus increasing the efficiency of each of the propellers. The design is based on slow steaming, a phenomenon that reportedly decreases fuel usage by 37% and carbon dioxide emission, for every container, by an impressive 50%. Consequently, Maersk was awarded the “Sustainable Ship Operator of the Year” title in 2011. The first of the 20 ships was delivered in July last year. While 11 of them are already in service, the remaining 9 are under construction and will hopefully be delivered by the middle of next year.
To learn more about the Triple E ships, visit Maersk’s official website.
Image Courtesy: Alastair Philip Wiper blog