Shipowner Koole posed us a new challenge: build a parcel tanker that can carry between 3,000 and 4,000 tonnes, and can be safely handled by two staff members. The ultimate goal was to reduce crewing costs by minimising the workload, and increase safety.
The maximum permitted ship length for carrying two crew members is 86 metres. This meant KE had to extend the width and height of the ship to meet the tonnage demands. But since the ship’s intended trajectory was the Amsterdam-Rhine canal and the Schelde-Rhine canal, a height above 8 metres would pose problems at bridges, as would a draught deeper than 4 metres, apart from stability issues. Not to mention the fact that a higher ship meant that an on-deck vacuum pump would not be able to build up enough suction to fully drain the storage compartments when unloading.
For increased manoeuvrability, the ship has been outfitted with the innovative double tilted v-pod propulsion, allowing it to move sideways and backwards as well as forwards, giving the ship greater flexibility at mooring off and leaving docks. The pumping system has been integrated below the deck, allowing for fast unloading times for even the most difficult of products.
Aside from leading the design of the ship, Koole Engineering oversaw the whole building process, right up to the moment of launch.