AAL Shipping has ordered another pair of third-generation 32,000 dwt newbuildings.

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HLPFI readers will recall that AAL announced its newbuilding programme during November 2021. With the additional order, AAL will take delivery of six vessels starting in 2024.

Five of the vessels will be named after major breakbulk ports: AAL Antwerp, AAL Hamburg, AAL Houston, AAL Dubai and AAL Dammam. The sixth vessel will bear the name AAL Limassol, in tribute to the town where AAL’s story first began in 1995.

The design of the ‘Super B-class’ vessels was a collaboration between AAL’s engineering and commercial teams and its sister company, Columbia Shipmanagement (CSM).

Nicola Pacifico, global head of AAL’s transport engineering department, said: “These vessels were designed to be the most efficient and competent multipurpose vessels in the water. They will perfectly complement AAL’s fleet and service profile and, in their design, we harnessed all of our engineering team’s expertise in handling heavy lift, breakbulk and dry bulk cargo since 1995.

“The Super B-class will have the capability to accommodate safely more than 60,000 freight tons (FRT) of cargo on a single sailing and literally any cargo big and small. The already significant clear weather deck space of 146 m x 26 m will feature unique extendable pontoons that can increase stowage space even further, as well as allowing certain cargoes to safely overhang the deck when required, like wind blades.

“With the bridge and accommodation block positioned forward, our crews will have unobscured sailing visibility and no physical restriction on cargo height. Moreover, the vessels can also sail with open hatch covers, enabling extremely tall and over-dimensional units to be stowed safely in hold space. And, despite significant cargo intake volume and size (vessels will be just shy of 180 m in length), the hull design of the Super B-class will deliver a 6.5 m minimum draft, allowing AAL to call at far smaller and more remote ports, which is perfect for employment on dedicated large projects.”

Yahaya Sanusi, deputy head of AAL’s transport engineering department and the naval architect responsible for many of the ideas incorporated into the vessels’ innovative design, added: “Three heavy lift cranes positioned along the vessels’ port side will feature 350 tonnes lift each and combinable up to 700 tonnes max.

“Tandem lifting can be done in combination with both crane number one and two, and crane number two and three. This enables cargo loading at both the fore and aft of the vessel – optimising deck space and capacity and mitigating the need to lift large project cargo into just one area and move it by other means into final stowage position which is time and labour intensive. The cranes are also designed with a wider outreach of 35.7 m at higher lifting capacity and render far more flexibility and options when loading large and / or heavy units.”

Under deck there will be two box-shaped cargo holds, one measuring 68 m x 25 m, and the other 38 m x 25 m.

The Super B-class will be dual-fuel and methanol ready. It will be powered by 7,380 kW  MAN main engine – supported by two 1,700 kW and one 1,065 kW auxiliary diesel generators. They will also feature modern ballast water treatment systems and innovative hull coating that delivers greater fuel efficiency and reduced CO2 emissions. Overall, the Super B-class will meet the highest possible automation and emission standards, as well as complying with IMO regulations on emissions and sustainability for environmental protection.