IN the Baltic Sea the need for rapid transportation of crude and refined oil has been responsible for the building of a number of interesting little ships. They have their counterparts elsewhere, but because of ice conditions in the Baltic it is necessary for them to have a specially reinforced fore end with an ice-breaking stem. This is clearly shown in the drawing below.
The ship illustrated is the Brannaren, built at Malmo and completed in September, 1933, for the Swedish Navy. Since then she has been released for ordinary work. She has a deadweight tonnage of 698 and a gross tonnage of 552. Her dimensions are 168 feet overall, with a beam of 29 feet and a draught of 12 ft 5 in. When loaded with oil down to 11 ft 10 in she has a speed of about 10 knots. She is propelled by a 2-cycle diesel engine with four cylinders 13·4 in diameter by 22·4 in stroke, giving a power of 522 hp at 220 revolutions per minute.
The machinery is aft and, in conformity with modern practice, so is most of the accommodation. A large navigating bridge is at the forward end of the poop. The plan clearly shows the four double oil tanks made by divisions at fore and aft bulkheads. The small hatches leading to the tanks are also indicated, as is the pipe-line system on the deck and the pump room in which are situated the powerful steam driven pumps for handling the cargo. The double line of bulkheads at the forward and aft end of the tanks are known as cofferdams.
At the forward end of the poop there is a hold for the carriage of ordinary cargo and this is served by a three-tons derrick operated by a steam winch. Vessels of this kind are strongly constructed and are capable of standing up to almost any weather.
Like all tankers the Brannaren has many of the technical attributes of a barge with machinery aft. In fact, in the earlier days of the oil industry it was customary to carry a good deal of oil coastwise and up rivers by barge. The dumb barges could be left alongside their discharging pier while the tug went elsewhere. As the business has developed and the necessity for a quick turn round has become greater, it is more convenient that the machinery propelling the barge should be in the barge itself - hence the modern coastwise tanker. Because of her naval origin, the Brannaren represents the coastal tanker de luxe and was intended mainly for looking after the Swedish fleet at sea. A shortage of small tankers shortly after the time of her completion made it desirable, however, to release her for ordinary mercantile work, and on this she has been employed practically ever since. Ships of this kind will be found working out of ports all over the world with modifications due to local weather conditions. The Brannaren is representative of the largest and most seaworthy kind of coastwise tanker. Some of the ships are nothing more nor less than shallow-draught barges with an engine in the stern.