There are many different types of ships that vary for example in size, in the type of cargo that they carry and in the waterways on which they navigate. Therefore, no ship is the same; each and every one of them is unique. Nevertheless, various types of ships can be distinguished. With a view to the types of cargo, inland shipping has six types of vessels:
Of all the various vessels, so-called pushed barges are also available. Pushed barges have no means of mechanical propulsion of their own. For dry cargo, a number of towed barges are still operational that often serve as floating storage vessels.
View here the drawings of the various vessel types and their characteristics.
These ships transport break bulk
or dry bulk in their holds. Examples of dry bulk are grain, ore, coal or
fodder. Dry-cargo carriers often have large “hatches” that secure the hold and
thus keep the cargo dry. Nowadays some dry cargo ships are specially designed
for the sole purpose of transporting containers. They have a height-adjustable
wheelhouse for example, which allows optimum visibility over the highly stacked
containers. Dry cargo ships are extremely versatile and have numerous
transportation possibilities. They are, therefore, the most common example of
all inland vessels.
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Well barges generally transport sand ballast or dredged materials. These vessels are loaded by a suction dredger or by means of their own suction pipe. They are constructed in such a way that water, which is pumped in with the load, is drained off without fear of the ship sinking.
Certainly 80% of all hazardous (‘wet’) materials is transported by water via tank vessels. This is much safer than by train or lorry, because these types of transport often have to travel through urban areas in order to reach their destination. Moreover, tank vessels are often fitted with double hulls and have to meet stringent requirements. Double hulls are tested in practice for the purpose of preventing cargo leakage in the event of a collision.
Tank vessels can carry various types of cargo such as liquids, gases and powder-form products. There are four types of tank ships: type N (normal), type C (chemical), type G (gas) and powder tankers.
Push boats are placed behind
so-called pushed barges as a means of propulsion, because pushed barges cannot
navigate independently. The push boat is actually rather like a floating engine
room with full crew accommodation and a wheelhouse. A push boat hooked up to a
pushed barge is known as a pushing unit. It can handle up to a maximum of 6
pushed barges, giving the pushing unit a total length of 200 metres. However,
in practice only 2 or 3 barges are navigated. Practically anything can be
transported in the hold of a pushed barge: bulk cargo such as ore, coal or
grain, but also containers. The type of cargo partly depends on whether the
pushed barge has a hatch cover.
Tug boats are used for towing vessels such as barges, pontoons, dredgers, elevators and floating cranes. They also assist sea-going vessels and pushing units.
Small push boats often also have a tow installation.
Passenger ships are used to
transport people and include hotel cruise ships, day passenger vessels (party
and canal cruise companies) and ferry services. An average passenger vessel has
a capacity of around 100 passengers. Typical examples are the vessels used for
the well-known Rhine cruises.
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A roll-on roll-off ship, or ro-ro ship, has a ramp which is specifically designed to take all kinds of rolling cargo on board, such as new cars and vans, lorries but also tractors or army vehicles for example.