Netherlands-based shipping company Spliethoff has placed an order for six multipurpose vessels, which will be built at Zhejiang Ouhua Shipbuilding shipyard in China.

The newly ordered R-Class vessels will be designed for use in the Arctic region, and feature an overall length of 165m with a deadweight tonne (dwt) capacity of around 18,000dwt.

The ships are to be developed as per the Polar Code requirements, and will be optimised for fuel efficiency, as well as equipped with scrubbers to reduce their environmental footprint.

Spliethoff also notes the vessels will be suitable for operation in the specialised breakbulk market with heavy and outsized cargoes.

"The vessels will be designed for use in the Arctic region, and feature an overall length of 165m with a deadweight tonne (dwt) capacity of around 18,000dwt."

They will feature a hold length of over 100m and will include accommodation such as a navigation bridge at the bow end of the ship, offering protection to ultra-long pieces when carried on deck.

Delivery of the order's first vessel mv Raamgracht is expected by January 2019, while the remaining five vessels are expected to be follow in regular two-month intervals.

Spliethoff acquired two identical vessels in October, which were built in 2009 and are suitable for transiting the St. Lawrence Seaway in Canada and the US.

Each of the 12,740t dwt multipurpose tweendeck vessels, mv Heemskerkgracht and mv Hemgracht, are equipped with two 180t cranes that can be combined for lifting up to 360t.

Image: Rendering of Spliethoff’s new R-Class vessel. Photo: courtesy of Spliethoff.