In the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s the traditional reefer ship ruled the break bulk and pallet movement of perishables across the globe. The demand for citrus fruits, deciduous fruits, bananas, meat and fish of every description ensured that hundreds of ships were fully deployed for other than a few weeks in the northern summer which was referred to as “slack season”. On their ballast legs, many used their tween decks to ship new and/or used automobiles until the modern auto carrier squeezed them out.
Reefer ship operators have survived the onslaught of containerization of their trades by building relatively small, fully containerized reefer ships of their own, often dedicated to specific trades.
A typical example is the Lombok Strait:
Built by CSBC Taiwan in 2002
Owned and operated by Seatrade Groningen
GRT 14,413 tons
DWT 13,600 MT
4 holds, 4 hatches divided into 15 compartments
2 x 45T SWL deck cranes
Capacity 626,011 cubic feet, 17,727 cubic metres, 5,600 standard fruit pallets
Container slots 440 TEU + 200 reefer plugs
Main engine output: 15,801kW at 105 RPM.
Full speed 23 knots
Sister ship Luzon Strait
The vessel has a brine reefer plant which controls the hold temperature in a range from –25°C to +15°C. The atmosphere in the holds is controlled by a nitrogen gas plant, a similar plant modifies the atmosphere in the containers.