Oil Tankers

Transportation is a major logistics key in the oil industry. One of the primary means of moving oil and petroleum products from one point to another is through the use of oil tankers. An oil tanker is a massive ship that is designed for the specific use of carrying bulk quantities of oil. The first practical oil tanker was built back in 1878 by Ludyig Nobel of Seden. He and his brother Robert owned their own oil company (and were brothers to Alfred Nobel, famous founder of the Nobel Peace Prize). Because of the hazardous nature of the ship's contents, oil tankers are subject to strict guidelines and regulations.

In today's modern industry, oil tankers are divided into two types that are dependant on what kind of oil the ships are transporting. The first type of tanker are crude tankers that carry unrefined oil from the oil fields and other locations where it was collected out of the ground to the refineries where it is then processed. The other type of oil tanker is a product tanker. Product tankers haul oil petrol and other refined oil products from the refineries to the consumer markets. Product tankers are usually smaller than crude tankers.

Oil tankers are also classified by their size. In 1954, the Shell Oil Company developed an assessment system to classify tankers. The oil industry was not as large or prominent as it is today so the system originally divided the ships into only three separate classes. However, during the late 1970's, as oil production increased and tankers grew larger, the system had to be revamped. The current sizes for tankers are: General Purpose Tanker, Medium Range Tanker, LR1 (Large Range 1), LR2 (Large Range 2), VLCC (Very Large Crude Carrier), and ULCC (Ultra Large Crude Carrier). ULCC ships are also known as super-tankers.

All oil tankers are constructed with a double hull, one hull inside the other. This helps to prevent oil spills that can cause massive environmental damage. All tankers also have what is called a DWT or deadweight tonnage. DWT is the total amount in tons of cargo, fuel, and ballast that a ship can carry.

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The other type of oil tanker is a product tanker. Product tankers haul oil petrol and other refined oil products from the refineries to the consumer markets. Product tankers are usually smaller than crude tankers.

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