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Pacific Far East Line (PFEL) and LASH vessels

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  • Pacific Merchant Marine Council, NLUS
    ... From: MARK L SHAFER Sent: Wednesday, December 17, 2008 7:42 PM Subject: PFEL In case some of our PFEL brother alumni / survivors do not read PROP WASH,
    Message 1 of 3 , Dec 18, 2008
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      ----- Original Message -----
      From: MARK L SHAFER
      Sent: Wednesday, December 17, 2008 7:42 PM
      Subject: PFEL

      In case some of our PFEL brother alumni / survivors do not read PROP WASH, here is a recent article of interest. 
       
      MERRY CHRISTMAS and HAPPY NEW YEAR.

      Aloha, 
       
      Mark

      "In December (2008) the last remaining LASH ship, the 1972-built RHINE FOREST    , will go out of service.  Owner International Shipholding Corp. says that it is too  expensive to replace its last two LASH ships and the needed 650 inland barges.  A total of 29 LASH ships were built from 1969 to the early 1980s with the first being the ACADIA FOREST in 1969 which carried barges eastbound from the US with forest products to northern Europe.  The most ill-fated of the LASH vessels was Hapag-Lloyd's MUNCHEN which sent out SOS signals on December 12 and 13, 1978 while sailing with 83 lighters loaded with steel products on a voyage from Bremerhaven to Savannah.  Three aircraft and six ships searched for the LASH ship, but only empty life rafts, three life vests and three drifting lighters were found.  None of the crew of 28 was ever found."


      Information from the internet...

      During the early 1960s, a division of American President Lines known as Pacific Far East Line (PFEL) transported military supplies to Vietnam. No one knew how long that war would last, and it seemed unwise to consider building docks and erecting gantry cranes at Cam Ranh Bay in South Vietnam. PFEL used a lighter aboard ship (LASH) system.
       
      Wiikipedia and Global Security have considerable information on these ships:
       
       
      MV Rhine Forest in the Port of Rotterdam
       
      The lighter aboard ship (LASH) system refers to the practice of loading barges (lighters) aboard a larger vessel for transport. It was developed in response to a need to transport lighters, a type of unpowered barge, between inland waterways separated by open seas. Lighters are typically towed or pushed around harbors, canals or rivers and cannot be relocated under their own power. The carrier ships are known variously as LASH carriers, barge carriers, kangaroo ships or lighter transport ships.
       
      Development

      By the 1950s, the needs of cargo transport customers were no longer being met by the old system of loading individual cargo pieces into a ship's hold. The dimensions and shapes of cargo pieces varied widely, and the ISO standard cargo container had only slowly begun to be adopted during the 1960s. Large container terminals with extensive conveyor systems and storage areas were still only in planning or in the development stages.

      The LASH system was developed as an alternative and supplement to the developing container system. The lighters, which may be characterized as floating cargo containers, served dual purposes: transportation over water, and the establishment of a modular, standardized shape for loading and unloading cargo. The lighters, also known as swimming normed cargo containers, are loaded onto a LASH carrier at the port of embarkation and unloaded from the ship at the port of destination.

      The system was developed by the American shipbuilding engineer Jerome Goldman during the 1960s. The Acadia Forest, commissioned in September 1969, was the first LASH carrier. The ship could take up 75 standardized lighters, with about 376 metric tons of total loading capacity. At the time, it was a novel kind of ship, the first vessel designed primarily to transport other, smaller ships.

      Economic impact

      At the time of its invention, the system was considered by experts to be a considerable advancement in shipping technology. LASH carriers were able to transport 5 times more cargo than a comparable conventional transport ship, the loading and unloading process was much more efficient, and a lack of harbor equipment or quay moorings provided no obstacle, as the lighters could be loaded directly onto the ship. The system also relieved the pressure to unload as quickly as possible, since the lighters already in the water could be moved while others were being unloaded. All told, these ships spent more than 80% of their annual application time at sea, whereas the conventional ships often lay at harbor for as much as half the year.

      Technology

      LASH barges are loaded at inland river and shallow ports. Then, the barges are towed to ocean port's fleeting areas to meet the LASH mother vessel. On arrival, the mother vessel crane lifts the LASH barges onto the ships. LASH cargo does not require transshipment, as the movement from the origin to destination takes place with a single bill of loading.

      An important technical problem raised by the invention of the new transport system was the shape of the lighters. Several other designs, differentiated mainly by the shape of the lighters and the loading mechanism, were proposed, but the LASH system found the largest range of applications. In this approach, the lighters were individually lifted onto the carrier ship by a large crane located at the stern of the ship. The crane could move the entire length of the ship and stack the lighters atop each other in the ship's body and on the deck. The cranes had a load-carrying capacity of more than 500 Mp. Loading or unloading a lighter took on average 15 minutes. LASH ships were constructed in Europe, Japan and the USA with almost uniform parameters.

      The host vessel is sometimes purpose-built or modified with a door at the waterline, to allow the payloads to be loaded and unloaded without special lifting equipment.

      Problems and shortcomings

      New problems which were as yet unknown to shipping companies arose with the advent of the LASH system and similar barge carriers. Aboard the carrier ship the lighter is simply a large cargo container, but in the seaport and on the inland waterways it becomes a vessel. As a vessel, they are subject to requirements for equipment regulations like anchors, winches, coupling facilities and signal lamps. These regulations can vary widely between Europe, North America and Asia, making interoperability between different harbors difficult. Additionally, lighters linked together into barges had to be provided so-called "head barges" which could not be transported on the carrier ships. Also, serving waterways which freeze over in winter required a high capital expenditure.

      Studies showed that the costs of addressing these issues, along with the costs of operating the carrier ships and her lighters, were much higher the customary freighter ships or the ISO-compliant container ships that were beginning to conquer the transportation market. While barge carriers and lighters are a technologically interesting sea transport system, they are economic only under certain specific conditions of traffic and economy. [2]

      History

      On the 15th December the Rhine Forest[3], ex Bilderdijk of the Holland-Amerika Line entered for the last time the Port of Rotterdam, where it was retired due to low utilization between New Orleans and Rotterdam. It is a sister ship of MV München. The LASH lighter with registration p. CG 6013 was donated to De Binnenvaart, an inland-shipping museum in Dordrecht, where it is now part of an exhibit.

      _______________________________________________________

      http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/ship/lash.htm

       

      Lighter Aboard Ship (LASH) Ships

      The Lighter Aboard Ship (LASH) is a single-decked vessel with large hatches, wing tank arrangements, and a clear access to the stern. The LASH has a gantry crane with a cargo handling capacity of approximately 450 LT. The function of this crane is to convey barges or lighterage from the stowed location aboard the ship to the stern region and to lower the barges or lighterage into the water. Some LASH ships are equipped with container gantry cranes for the handling of the onboard complement of containers. Different classes of LASH ships have capacities ranging from 64 to 89 barges or a mixture of LASH barges and military lighterage.

      LASH ships stow their lighters vertically in cells and on top of the hatch covers. Each LASH ship is equipped with a 500-LTON (480-MTON) gantry crane to lift the lighters at the stern of the ship and stow them athwartships throughout the ship. A 35-LTON (31-MTON) gantry crane located forward is used to load containers and stow them athwartships. Three to four lighters normally can be loaded onto or discharged from the ship in one hour. A LASH ship can normally load or discharge its lighters in about 20 hours. The container crane is capable of handling approximately sixteen 20-foot (6-m) containers an hour.

      LASH lighters are thin-skinned boxes with water-tight hatch covers. The lighter can carry up to 371 LTON (340 MTON) of cargo at a maximum draft of just over 8 feet (2.4 m). Some lighters are equipped for easy ventilation and provide for smoke detection and fire extinguishing. The lighters are not ac- cessible during transit in the mother ship. The LASH lighter, with covers installed, floats at a draft of just less than 2 feet (61 cm). Each of the hatch covers weighs approximately 6,000 pounds (2,722 kg). The shallow draft allows the barge to be drawn by deck winches very close to the unprepared river bank. By keeping the mooring cables taut, the “drift” caused by strong river current is eliminated. As the barge is loaded, the shoreside edge of the hull will settle firmly its full length on the river bank. The settling will add stability to the barge and aid in loading. Should high and low tidal conditions be expected along coastlines, it is necessary to prevent the lighter from settling on shore...

    • Phelps Hobart
      From Capt. Kerry O Brien: Phelps, For the mentioned reasons, LASH ships were not commercially viable. I sailed as Second Mate in several of them for Waterman
      Message 2 of 3 , Dec 18, 2008
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        From Capt. Kerry O'Brien:

        Phelps,

        For the mentioned reasons, LASH ships were not commercially viable.

        I sailed as Second Mate in several of them for Waterman and Central Gulf
        (both outfits owened by the same two brothers). These ships are ameable
        to military use however, and are still to be found in the MARAD
        inventory today.

        I was Convoy Officer (Naval Laison Officer) in SS Austral Rainbow during
        Operation Rainbow Reef in Diego Garcia in 1993.

        Kerry

        PS Great interview in the latest SEAPOWER with an old friend, Owen
        Dougherty of MARAD. He and I served together in the USNR-MMR and he is
        also an alum of the Naval War College. I attended King's Point
        Anti-Piracy and Terroism Course (The Master Mariner's Course) in 1994.

        PSS Re: Wreaths Across America: Phelps, Good show! God Bless, Kerry

        _____________________________________

        Thanks Kerry.

        For all: Replies are welcome but please delete all or most of the
        original message.

        Phelps
      • capt.ob@comcast.net
        Dear Phelps, I don t know how. I am not a clerical guy..I can barely do e-mail and write a letter! Merry Christmasand Happy New Year!.....Kerry ... From:
        Message 3 of 3 , Dec 19, 2008
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          Dear Phelps,
          I don't know how. I am not a clerical guy..I can barely do e-mail and write a letter!   Merry Christmasand Happy New Year!.....Kerry
           
          -------------- Original message --------------
          From: "Phelps Hobart" <nlsac@...>


          From Capt. Kerry O'Brien:

          Phelps,

          For the mentioned reasons, LASH ships were not commercially viable.

          I sailed as Second Mate in several of them for Waterman and Central Gulf
          (both outfits owened by the same two brothers). These ships are ameable
          to military use however, and are still to be found in the MARAD
          inventory today.

          I was Convoy Officer (Naval Laison Officer) in SS Austral Rainbow during
          Operation Rainbow Reef in Diego Garcia in 1993.

          Kerry

          PS Great interview in the latest SEAPOWER with an old friend, Owen
          Dougherty of MARAD. He and I served together in the USNR-MMR and he is
          also an alum of the Naval War College. I attended King's Point
          Anti-Piracy and Terroism Course (The Master Mariner's Course) in 1994.

          PSS Re: Wreaths Across America: Phelps, Good show! God Bless, Kerry

          ____________ _________ _________ _______

          Thanks Kerry.

          For all: Replies are welcome but ple ase delete all or most of the
          original message.

          Phelps

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