11 Things You Should Know About Cargo Ship

A Cargo ship also called a merchant ship is a ship to transport cargo from one place to another.

1, How many types of cargo ships are there?

Based on what kind of cargo the ship carriers, generally speaking, there are 6 types of cargo ships there

Dry bulk cargo ship: mainly carries bulk items like coal, sand, grain, sugar, etc.

General cargo ship: most common cargo ship for general products

Tank cargo ship: mainly for liquid items such as chemicals, oil, etc.

Refer to cargo ships: are mostly used to transport perishable products, such as seafood, meat, and dairy products.

Roll on Roll off cargo ship: for the most part to ship heavy machines, cars, and agriculture instruments.

Container ship: container ship is also a kind of cargo ship.

2, How many cargo ships are there worldwide?

Based on www.statista.com that by Jan 1st of 2021, there are roughly 55,000 cargo ships worldwide. General cargo ships and bulk cargo ships account for 50% of all types of cargo ships.

Surprisingly, container ships only account for 10% of all cargo ships, because the majority of cargo worldwide is transferred by container ships.

3, How deep does a cargo ship sit in the water?

The distance underwater that a ship goes is known as its draught ( also refer as a draft ). An average cargo ship sits about 30 feet (9 meters) beneath the water.

Smaller cargo ship sits about 10 feet beneath the water. Large container ships could be sitting 40 feet approximately. In those super large container ships with a capacity of 20,000 TEU, you could see a draft of somewhat 80 feet.

On the whole cargo ship sit deeper in fresh water than salt water, due to salt water being denser than fresh water.

An empty cargo ship will ride high in the water, and a full-load of cargo ship will weigh much more and, thus the ship will sit low in the water.

4, What is the height of a cargo ship?

The average cargo ship’s height ( the height above the water line, do not include the part beneath the water also called draft) is about 35 meters (115 feet ), some large cargo ship’s height can go to 58 meters (190 feet).

According to msc.com that their largest cargo ship- MSC Gülsün container ship has a capacity of 23,000+ TEU, an overall length of 400m (1312 feet), a breadth of 60m (197 feet), a height of 73m (239 feet), a draught of 16m (52 feet).

5, How many containers fit on a cargo ship?

The container ship’s capacity is measured in TEUs ( 1 TEU equal to the twenty-foot equivalent container). There is 7 major size of container ships based on their TEUs.

Types of
container ship
Capacity in TEURemark
Feeder1000~3000You can load 1000~3000, 20FT containers on a feeder
Panamax3001~5100The container ship’s capacity must under 5100 TEU
to be able to cross the old Panama canal
& new Panamax
5101~14500After the expansion of the Panama Canal, container ship
with a capacity under 14500 TEU can cross this canal easily
Ultra-large container vessel
14501+ULCV is too big for the Panama Canal,
but ULCV can choose to cross the Suez canal

6, How many crew on a cargo ship?

An average size cargo ship has 12~20 crew members on board. A large cargo ship could have up to 50 crew members. There will be one captain, three-four deck officers, one chief engineer, three-four other engineers, two-three deck crew, two-three engine crew, and two-three gallery staff.

A variety of freight ships will take passengers, but most are container ships. Most container ships have room for a limited number of passengers, a maximum of 12, and normally 4~6 passengers.

7, What amenities are on a cargo ship?

The majority of cargo ships have access to the internet because the ships have access to satellites anywhere they go. The wifi on the ship is normally slower than on land, and the use of wifi on a cargo ship has a time limit and data limit per crew.

Accommodation depends on the type of ship and the company operating her. Usually the bigger the ship, the better the living quarters.

The most cargo ship has individual cabin for their crew. Commonly, there is a sink, a small refrigerator, a small cabinet, a bed, and a desk inside the cabin. Public showers and bathrooms will locate outside of cabinets if the ship is small to medium size. If the ship is huge, there are not only en-suite showers and toile but also a gym, cinema, or even swimming pool.

8, Do cargo ships sail at night?

Cargo ships do sail at night, especially container ships. These days majority of Cargo ships are equipped with GPS and radar, so navigation in the dark is not a problem.

Most container ships run a very tight schedule, so they sail day and night to catch the time unless there is a restriction from port authorities or local regulations. In some ports (in different countries) you can only sail in daylight.

9, Do cargo ships cross the pacific/Atlantic ocean?

Cargo ships cross the pacific and Atlantic oceans all the time. It takes about 15~30 days to cross the pacific ocean, and 10~22 days to cross the Atlantic ocean.

I have been working in logistics for over 10 yrs and the Trans-pacific lane is always my company’s busiest lane. Many cargos, and containers ship from Asia to the United States.

10, How long does a cargo ship last?

 In general, most cargo ships will have a planned service life of between 20–30 years.

Cargo ships are typically scrapped between the age of 20 to 30 years. There are very few ships going for scrap before 20 years of age and very few surviving after 30 years of age.

As a vessel gets older, the cost of maintenance increases as stuff wears out. The ship is recycled when the maintenance cost is higher than the money she can bring.

At the end life of a ship, the ship owner will sell the ship to a ship scrap yard. Many ship scrap yards are located in India, Bangladesh, china, and Pakistan.

11, Do cargo ships ever sink?

The Cargo ship does sink. According to www.statista.com that 348 cargo ships were lost in the sea between 2020 and 2021.

People.com reported on 3/2, 2022 that A cargo ship named Felicity Ace carrying thousands of cars that caught fire in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean has sunk.

There are 4 major reasons cause a cargo ship to sink

  1. The collision between two vessels due to not taking timely action or wrong action
  2. Strong weather such as storms, typhoons
  3. Crew negligence and inadequate vessel maintenance
  4. Uncontrollable fire due to various causes

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