Good Company

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Good Company

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Things to Consider

Like the world's largest diesel (or indeed, reciprocating) engine, the Wärtsilä RT-flex96C:
The Wärtsilä RT-flex96C is a two-stroke turbocharged low-speed diesel engine designed by the Finnish manufacturer Wärtsilä. It is currently considered the largest reciprocating engine in the world, designed for large container ships, running on heavy fuel oil. It stands at (13.5 metres (44 ft)) high, is 27.3 m (90 ft) long, and weighs over 2300 tonnes in its largest 14-cylinder version — producing 109,000 brake horsepower (80,08 MW).

It was put into service in September 2006 aboard the Emma Mærsk. The design is based on the older RTA96C engine,[2] but revolutionary common rail technology has done away with the traditional camshaft, chain gear, fuel pumps and hydraulic actuators. The result is better performance at low revolutions per minute (rpm), lower fuel consumption, and lower harmful emissions.
Information from Wartsila here:
Wärtsilä RT-flex96C and RTA96C low-speed marine diesel engines are tailor-made for the economical propulsion of large, fast container liners.

For all sizes of large, fast containerships from around 3000 up to more than 10,000 TEU capacity, at service speeds of around 25 knots, the RT-flex96C and RTA96C low-speed engines provide a comprehensive engine programme for power outputs from 25,320 to 84,420 kW.
Ship and engine photos from the  "Emma Maersk" website.


  1. C'mon, Eagle1. Yesterday you tell us we can swtich off news over-hype and now you're posting about an engine that was put on a vessel in 2006. What's that got to do with piracy? Outrun them?

  2. Anonymous3:47 PM

    How do they install that engine? Is it assembled in place? Craned in?

  3. Heh.

    Why, yes, the Emma Maersk can out run the pirates.

    There's a reason for the post.

  4. Having sailed aboard Emma and spent time in her engine room, I can tell you this is, indeed, an amazing piece of machinery. The Wartsila's size alone is impressive. And watching Emma's engineering crew change out a piston in the middle of the Med is pretty amazing.

    But it is it's economic use of fuel (including the re-use of expended heat) while still powering a vessel of this size that makes it important, as box ships like Emma drive the global economies. If you still want affordable merchandise at Wal-Mart, IKEA or your corner store, developments like this engine are very important.

    And, yes, the Emma-class Wartsilas do help ships outrun pirates who would like to interfere with global commerce, as I saw firsthand while sailing through the Strait of Malacca and the GoA/Red Sea and wrote about on my blog. It's another tool in the kit bag required to deal with the problem.

  5. Eagle1; Love your blog, you sea rascal! Luckily, I was able to make the leap from UFI to "so what's this got to do with piracy".

    Daniel; So how long do I have to wait for shipping lanes to be full of Wartzilla propelled vessels? I mean, yes, this engine is very economical, and the savings should be passed on to me, the consumer, but everyone knows that shippers will always pass on the operating cost to me.

    A $0.55 Tommy Pullmyfinger shirt made in Bangladesh costs $75 by the time it gets into my closet. I doubt the fuel efficiency will translate into a 2-bit saving to the consumer.

    So ships go faster and the pirates quit the business...OR they upgrade from 40HP outboards to 75HP? Pirates can't adapt, can they?

  6. Pirates adapt all the time.

    And that big price tag on that shirt is not caused by shipping costs.