Maersk's "A" class containerships.

Capt. Bruno
8th September 2009, 17:22
In 1975-76 Maersk built their first class of containerships in Germany. The orders were divided between Blohm + Voss (6 vessels) and Flenders Werft (3 vessels) All of their names started with "A". All of them were lenghtened in 1978. They were all steamers when built and in 1984-1985 in what I could only describe as a conversion orgy, sterns were exchanged with each other vessel's bows and new diesel powered vessel emerged. Most vessels took on the new name of the bow section they were paired with. By scrutinizing Lloyd's registers for the conversion years, I established the following conversion table:

ADRIAN MAERSK (7361180) became ALBERT MAERSK in 1985
ALBERT MAERSK (7361192) was scraped after its bow was installed on ADRIAN
ALVA MAERSK (7361348) remained ALVA
ANNA MAERSK (7361207) became AXEL MAERSK in 1985
ARNOLD MAERSK (7361336) remained ARNOLD
ARTHUR MAERSK (7361221) stern was scrapped and its bow section saved for a newly built stern called ARTHUR MAERSK (8317485)
ANDERS MAERSK (7361219) became ANNA MAERSK in 1985
AXEL MAERSK (7361233) became ADRIAN MAERSK in 1985
ARILD MAERSK (7361350) remained ARILD

During the 1978 lenghtening, where was this performed, was it only the adding of a mid-section?

During the 1984-85 rebuild, where was this performed? how was it performed ? and did some of the vessels had their ro/ro ramps added at the same time ? (ALBERT, ARNOLD and ADRIAN) What was the idea behind those Quarter ramps and huge garages on the poop deck?

The Maersk careers of those 9 vessel is very confusing and I am trying to get everything right, any insight, precision, photographs and help would be appreciated.

9th September 2009, 08:41
I can't remember if it was Arthur or Alfred that had the boiler furnace explosion, I was in the yard at the time and walked past the ship as the explosion happened, I heard the THUMP! as I was getting into my car, drove off back to my hotel, and retuned the next morning to hear of the disaster.

Peter B
10th September 2009, 14:45
Capt. Bruno,

I may be able to help you, as I have served on three of these vessels. I have just moved out of my house and into an apartment, so most of my photographs and other "historical stuff" are still boxed up, including the wealth of photos that my deceased wife took onboard the M/V Arnold Maersk in 1985. I will get back to you with some photos, as stuff emerges from the boxes.

I have no comments on your conversion table, but I can confirm that the 1978 lengthening was only the adding of a midship-section; one cargo hold (40' container module) fwd. of the deck house.

The original steam machinery in all nine vessels consisted of:
- two identical Babcock & Wilcox MR boilers rated at 66 metric tons of steam per hour @ 65 bar / 513 C.
- one set (HP/LP/Astern) of General Electric turbines, producing 40,000 bhp at 6,000 (HP) / 3,500 (LP) rpm. The astern turbine was housed inside the LP-turbine housing, and provided a maximum of 15,000 bhp.
- a locked train reduction gear, converting the above turbine rpm's to 103 rpm on the propeller shaft.
- there were two steam turbine generator sets, each rated at 2,000 kW. One was a multi-stage turbine and one was a single-stage.
- In two separate compartments on the bridge deck, aft of the wheel house, were two 1,500 kW gas turbine generator sets (one multistage and one singlestage, as far as I remember). The gas turbines were of Norwegian "Kongsberg" make.

I believe the 1984-85 conversion you refer to actually took place in 1983-84, and that it took place in Japan. I have an old "Maersk Post" somewhere, with an article on that (unfortunately in Danish, I believe). I will dig that one out.
The vessels served on the USA - Far East service, on a nine-week turn-around schedule. The vessels were rebuild one at a time, with the M/V Svendborg Maersk acting as replacement. Consequently, each vessel were to be rebuild and put through sea trials within a nine week (63 days) period. I believe the actual docking period was 45 days.
The deck house was cut off at deck level and lifted ashore. The hull was cut in two just fwd. of the engine room. The first vessel to be converted had a brand new stern section with diesel machinery attached, and the original stern section was "scraped out" and fitted with diesel machinery, ready for the next vessel to arrive. The ninth and last stern section was scrapped completely.
When reattaching the deck house, a low (some 6-700 mm) cofferdam was inserted between the upper deck and the deck house. Here, alle the wiring and piping between the deck house and the hull was joined.
The conversion included lengthening with another 40' module, bringing the L.O.A up till about 240 meters.

Six of the vessels remained pure cell container carriers, while three of them were fitted with a Ro-Ro garage aft of the deck house, and a quarter ramp. The ramp had a capacity of 200 tons, with a maximum axle load of 80 tons. The garage capacity was 1,500 lane-meter.

The three "garage-ships" were propelled by B&W 8L90GBE (8-cylinder, economy rating) engines, providing about 34,000 bhp.
The six "pure cell" ships were propelled by B&W 10L90GB (10-cylinder) engines, providing 45,800 bhp.

All nine vessels were provided with three auxiliary diesel engines (generators). I have seen Daihatsu's (8-cylinder, 260 mm bore) in the M/V Arthur Maersk ("pure-cell-ship") and Yanmar's (with fewer cylinders and bigger bore than the Daihatsu's, I seem to remember) in the M/V Arnold Maersk ("garage-ship"). I believe the choice of auxiliary engines were consistent for each of the two vessel types.

I served on the T/S Albert Maersk (steam turbines) as an engineers apprentice in 1980.
I served on the M/V Arthur Maersk (10-cylinder diesel / "pure-cell") as 3rd engineer in 1984-85.
I served on the M/V Arnold Maersk (8-cylinder diesel / "garage") as 2nd engineer in 1985.

Capt. Bruno
10th September 2009, 18:58
Thank you very much for that insight, very interesting.
I also notice that only the Blohm+Voss built vessels (ADRIAN, ALBERT, ANNA, ARTHUR,ANDERS and AXEL) had their bows and sterns exchanged while the Flenders built ships remained with their own so maybe the conversions were performed at different yards ???

Peter B
10th September 2009, 19:35
Thank you very much for that insight, very interesting.
I also notice that only the Blohm+Voss built vessels (ADRIAN, ALBERT, ANNA, ARTHUR,ANDERS and AXEL) had their bows and sterns exchanged while the Flenders built ships remained with their own so maybe the conversions were performed at different yards ???
I am not sure of that, but I would assume that the vessels were all converted at the same yard. That is what "I seem to remember", for what ever that is worth.:rolleyes:
Speaking of Blohm+Voss versus Flender it is worth noting that there is a small difference in hull design: The B+V built ships have a clipper bow whereas the Flender built vessels have a sort of chine shape on the upper part of the bow. I'm afraid my english is insufficient to describe this any better, but I will find some pictures to explain it.

Capt. Bruno
10th September 2009, 19:57
Indeed , I can easily make out the difference in the bow design; B+V have a fine clipper bow while the Flenders built vessels have a more "boxy" flare on on bow !! Good observation. I managed to dug out from Lloyd's shipping index that the ARTHUR MAERSK (the first conversion as it was rebuilt with a complete new stern and ER) arriving at Innoshima, Japan (Hitachi Zosen) on June 16, 1983. So this would therefore mark the beginning of the conversion program.

Peter B
4th November 2009, 16:42
Something I forgot was that the six "pure cell" vessels fitted with B&W 10L90GB main engines were also fitted with a waste heat recovery system in the form of an exhaust gas boiler with superheater, a steam turbine generator (some 1,500 kW as far as I remember) and a sea-water cooled condenser with ejector vacuum plant. The system worked fine and I believe this was Maersk's first experience with waste heat recovery.