10. Guide to the Container Ship

A container ship is like a huge warehouse, holding its cargo in pre-packed units


Cargo Ship 1Boats have been around for thousands of years and in this new series – Sean’s Ultimate Ship, we’re going to be looking at some of the most amazing ones!

Some of the biggest ships that you’ll see today are container cargo ships. The largest container ships measure almost 400 metres in length, and can carry the same amount of cargo as 17 pre-war cargo boats!

A container ship is like a huge warehouse which holds its cargo in pre-packed units – containers.

There are several key points in the design of modern container ships:

  • The hull is a complex arrangement of steel plates and strengthening beams, which is built around a strong keel
  • The ship’s main deck, the metal platework that covers the top of the hull framework, is supported by beams that are attached to the tops of the frames and run the full breadth of the ship. The beams not only support the deck, but along with the deck, frames, and transverse bulkheads, strengthen and reinforce the shell
  • Many modern ships have hulls with double-bottom tank.  These provide a second watertight shell that runs most of the length of a ship. The double-bottoms generally hold liquids such as fuel oil, ballast water or fresh water
  • Many container ships have cargo cranes installed on them, and some have specialized systems for securing containers on board
  • As well as moving the boat, a ship’s engine will power the fresh water and sewage systems, electrical generators, fire pumps and air conditioners

You may have seen these, they look like a selection of giant LEGO bricks stacked together.

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