SHORTLY after the war of 1914-18 a special fleet of ships was constructed for transporting heavy weights such as railway coaches, barges, lightships and locomotives to all parts of the world. These ships have characteristics not to be found in any other class of vessel. Below is illustrated one of the fleet, the Beljeanne. She is a ship of 414.4 feet length by 67.1 feet beam by 31 feet depth, her deadweight tonnage being 10,170 tons, and her load draught 18 ft 6-in.
As the drawing shows, she has three holds and three large cargo hatches, one forward and two abaft a short, high structure housing the navigating bridge and officers’ quarters. The hatches are strong and have fore-and-aft girders higher than the bulwark of the ship, the width and length being proportioned so that locomotives or carriages can easily be loaded in them. The hatches and the decks are specially strong so that the largest of cargoes may be carried on the deck and not in the holds. No. 1 Hatch is as much as 75 ft 1½-in long, Nos. 2 and 3 Hatches being 75 ft 2½-in long. Each of the hatches is 26 feet wide.
The derrick equipment consists of three main units each capable of lifting a load of no fewer than 100 tons. The derricks are arranged on a stump foremast, on a second mast abaft the bridge structure, and on a third mast at the break of the poop. The 100-tons derricks from the mast abaft the bridge structure have a length of 76 feet; so has the derrick at the break of the poop. In addition there are twelve 5-tons-derricks, arranged as shown. This indicates that the Beljeanne is equal to lifting the heaviest weight that a ship is likely to be asked to carry. One of her record loads was twenty-four railway coaches, twenty locomotives, two tugs and one motor tank barge. The coaches were carried in two tiers above the bridge, the tugs and the tanker forward. These were carried from a British port to the River Plate. All the derricks are served by powerful steam winches taking their steam from a boiler in the engine-room aft.
The engine-room contains the two main propulsion units, which are of Armstrong-Sulzer diesel type, having a total power of 2,750 bhp on twin screws, and each having four cylinders. Most of the accommodation for the engineers and crew is arranged aft in the poop and in a house on the poop itself. The hull of the ship is exceptionally strong; at the same time ample arrangement has to be made for ballasting when the ship is running light. Hence there are a big fore peak, water ballast tank and big tanks aft. Water ballast can be carried also in the double bottom fore and aft and under the engine-room.
The Beljeanne was completed on the Tyne in August, 1926, and she has a speed of about 11 knots. Since her completion she has carried heavy loads to all parts of the world. She flies the Norwegian flag and is officered and manned by a Norwegian crew, who are all specialists in the handling of heavy weights. It is no unusual thing when the Beljeanne is loading cargo for her to heel over in the harbour until her gunwale is almost touching the water.