Star Bonaire: Reengineering a 2500-Tonne Vessel Within Four Months

In the early 1990s, shipowner Koole Terminals commissioned a new chemical coaster for transporting edible oils, the Star Bonaire, destined for short sea shipping. With a loading capacity of 2500 tonnes, and at 90 metres long and 12 metres wide, it was to be the first cylindrical storage carrier, based on a tank model used for inland shipping. While construction went according to plan initially, soon several concerns surfaced. Based on calculations, the tank construction design was unfit for an open sea environment, where natural forces may contort the ship, causing undue stress on the tank structure. Launching this vessel into open waters could end in disaster.

To still make the deadline, curb excess costs, and minimise risks, Koole Engineering was rushed in to reengineer the whole tank system and its foundations. By using the Finite Elements Method (FEM), Koole Engineering was able to quickly chart and deduce water forces on the Star Bonaire’s hull, and adapt and improve the tanks’ resilience accordingly. Within the course of just four months, Koole Engineering reengineered the Star Bonaire’s tanks using the limits of its existing foundation, and oversaw its production process.

The Star Bonaire formed the basis of our innovative solution, Orca Tank Technology, which we submitted for patent rights.

The ship was launched in 1997. To date, more than twenty years later, the Star Bonaire still sails, and its owners still benefit from its system of independent cylindrical tanks.

After the Star Bonaire, we further developed and refined the technology, leading to even more effective tank configurations.