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Last edited 06 Jan 2022
Ro - Ro transport
This article is about ships that carry vehicles. For RORO trains, see Rolling highway. For the railroad car, see Autorack. For the trailer towed by a tractor, see car carrier trailer. For the computer memory management technique, see Rollout/Rollin. "RORO" redirects here. For other uses, see Roro (disambiguation). Roll-on/roll-off (RORO or ro-ro) ships are cargo ships designed to carry wheeled cargo, such as cars, trucks, semi-trailer trucks, buses, trailers, and railroad cars, that are driven on and off the ship on their own wheels or using a platform vehicle, such as a self-propelled modular transporter. This is in contrast to lift-on/lift-off (LoLo) vessels, which use a crane to load and unload cargo. RORO are vessels equipped with a mobile access ramp allowing the loading and unloading of the goods by towing between the edge and the wharf. They are fast and allow short loading / unloading times. RORO vessels have either built-in or shore-based ramps or ferry slips that allow the cargo to be efficiently rolled on and off the vessel when in port. While smaller ferries that operate across rivers and other short distances often have built-in ramps, the term RORO is generally reserved for large oceangoing vessels. The ramps and doors may be located in the stern, bow, or sides, or any combination thereof.
Types of RORO vessels include ferries, cruiseferries, cargo ships, barges, and RoRo service for air deliveries. New automobiles that are transported by ship are often moved on a large type of RORO called a pure car carrier (PCC) or pure car/truck carrier (PCTC).
Elsewhere in the shipping industry, cargo is normally measured by the tonne, but RORO cargo is typically measured in lanes in metres (LIMs). This is calculated by multiplying the cargo length in metres by the number of decks and by its width in lanes (lane width differs from vessel to vessel, and there are several industry standards). On PCCs, cargo capacity is often measured in RT or RT43 units (based on a 1966 Toyota Corona, the first mass-produced car to be shipped in specialised car-carriers and used as the basis of RORO vessel size. 1 RT is approximately 4m of lane space required to store a 1.5m wide Toyota Corona) or in car-equivalent units (CEU). The largest RORO passenger ferry is MS Color Magic, a 75,100 GT cruise ferry that entered service in September 2007 for Color Line. Built in Finland by Aker Finnyards, it is 223.70 m (733 ft 11 in) long and 35 m (114 ft 10 in) wide, and can carry 550 cars, or 1270 lane meters of cargo. The RORO passenger ferry with the greatest car-carrying capacity is Ulysses (named after a novel by James Joyce), owned by Irish Ferries. Ulysses entered service on 25 March 2001 and operates between Dublin and Holyhead. The 50,938 GT ship is 209.02 m (685 ft 9 in) long and 31.84 m (104 ft 6 in) wide, and can carry 1342 cars/4101 lane meters of cargo. Car carriers The first cargo ships specially fitted for the transport of large quantities of cars came into service in the early 1960s. These ships still had their own loading gear and so-called hanging decks inside. They were, for example, chartered by the German Volkswagen AG to transport vehicles to the U.S. and Canada. During the 1970s, the market for exporting and importing cars has increased dramatically and the number and type of ROROs has increased also. In 1970 Japan's K Line built the Toyota Maru No. 10, Japan's first pure car carrier, and in 1973 built the European Highway, the largest pure car carrier (PCC) at that time, which carried 4,200 automobiles. Today's pure car carriers and their close cousins, the pure car/truck carrier (PCTC), are distinctive ships with a box-like superstructure running the entire length and breadth of the hull, fully enclosing the cargo. They typically have a stern ramp and a side ramp for dual loading of thousands of vehicles (such as cars, trucks, heavy machineries, tracked units, Mafi roll trailers, and loose statics), and extensive automatic fire control systems. The PCTC has liftable decks to increase vertical clearance, as well as heavier decks for "high-and-heavy" cargo. A 6,500-unit car ship, with 12 decks, can have three decks which can take cargo up to 150 short tons (136 t; 134 long tons) with liftable panels to increase clearance from 1.7 to 6.7 m (5 ft 7 in to 22 ft 0 in) on some decks. Lifting decks to accommodate higher cargo reduces the total capacity. These vessels can achieve a cruising speed of 16 knots at eco-speed, while at full speed can achieve more than 19 knots. With the building of Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics's 8,000 car-equivalent unit (CEU) car carrier Faust out of Stockholm in June 2007, car carriers entered a new era of the large car and truck carrier (LCTC). Currently, the largest are Höegh Autoliners, six Horizon class vessels with capacity of 8,500 CEU each. The car carrier Auriga Leader, belonging to Nippon Yusen Kaisha, built in 2008 with a capacity of 6,200 cars, is the world's first partially solar powered ship. Seaworthiness The seagoing RORO car ferry, with large external doors close to the waterline and open vehicle decks with few internal bulkheads, has a reputation for being a high-risk design, to the point where the acronym is sometimes derisively expanded to "roll on/roll over". An improperly secured loading door can cause a ship to take on water and sink, as happened in 1987 with MS Herald of Free Enterprise. Water sloshing on the vehicle deck can set up a free surface effect, making the ship unstable and causing it to capsize. Free surface water on the vehicle deck was determined by the court of inquiry to be the immediate cause of the 1968 capsize of the TEV Wahine in New Zealand. It also contributed to the wreck of MS Estonia. Despite these inherent risks, the very high freeboard raises the seaworthiness of these vessels. For example, the car carrier MV Cougar Ace listed 60 degrees to its port side in 2006, but did not sink, since its high enclosed sides prevented water from entering. In late January 2016 MV Modern Express was listing off France after cargo shifted on the ship. Salvage crews secured the vessel and it was hauled into the port of Bilbao, Spain. Some RORO ship casualties are mentioned here. RORO variations
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