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Title:
A TRANSPORT
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2018/220172
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A transport for a conveying a Flettner rotor over a deck of a vessel is described. The transport comprises a trolley for rolling engagement with a railway, the trolley comprises a chassis with wheels for engaging the railway and a load bearing mechanism configured to engage a base of the Flettner rotor to transfer the load of the Flettner rotor to the railway. Also described are a vessel, a method of conveying a Flettner rotor over a deck of a vessel and a foundation for supporting a Flettner rotor on a deck of a vessel.

Inventors:
STRINGFELLOW DUNCAN (GB)
Application Number:
EP2018/064456
Publication Date:
December 06, 2018
Filing Date:
June 01, 2018
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
ANEMOI MARINE TECH LIMITED (GB)
International Classes:
B63B25/00; B63B25/28; B63H9/02
Foreign References:
US5832856A1998-11-10
JPH03159897A1991-07-09
US20050012315A12005-01-20
US20160280347A12016-09-29
Other References:
None
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
GILL JENNINGS & EVERY LLP (The Broadgate Tower, 20 Primrose StreetLondon, Greater London EC2A 2ES, EC2A 2ES, GB)
Download PDF:
Claims:
Claims

1 . A transport for a conveying a Flettner rotor over a deck of a vessel, the transport comprising:

a trolley for rolling engagement with a railway, the trolley comprising: a chassis with wheels for engaging the railway; and a load bearing mechanism configured to engage a base of the Flettner rotor to transfer the load of the Flettner rotor to the railway. 2. The transport of claim 1 , wherein the load bearing mechanism comprises at least one lifting point and, preferably, three lifting points.

3. The transport of claim 2, wherein the at least one lifting point comprises at least one jack and, preferably, wherein the at least one jack comprises a screw jack and a travelling nut.

4. The transport of claim 2 or claim 3, wherein the at least one lifting point comprises three lifting points, preferably the three lifting points comprise at least three jacks and, more preferably, wherein the three jacks are synchronised.

5. The transport of claim 4, wherein two of the lifting points are located towards either end of a first side of the chassis and one of the lifting points is located centrally on a second opposing side of the chassis. 6. The transport of claim 5, wherein two wheels are located on the second opposing side of the chassis, wherein the lifting point located centrally on the second opposing side of the chassis is configured to act as a point about which the Flettner rotor can pivot when the transport is bearing its load, such that even load distribution across the two wheels located on the second opposing side is maintained.

7. The transport of any preceding claim, wherein the load bearing mechanism is electrically powered, preferably by an on board battery.

8. The transport of any preceding claim, wherein at least one of the wheels is a double flanged wheel.

9. The transport of any preceding claim, wherein at least one of the wheels is configured to engage a flat rail.

10. The transport of any preceding claim, wherein the trolley further comprises a drive mechanism for driving at least one of the wheels. 1 1 . The transport of claim 10, wherein the drive mechanism is configured to drive wheels on only one side of the transport.

12. The transport of claim 10 or claim 1 1 , wherein the drive mechanism is electrically powered, preferably by an on board battery.

13. The transport of any preceding claim, wherein the chassis is flexible for improved wheel engagement with railway height variation whereby the chassis is able to warp to maintain wheel engagement with the railway. 14. The transport of any preceding claim, wherein the chassis has a generally square or rectangular configuration.

15. The transport of any preceding claim, wherein the trolley further comprises a lifting subframe, preferably, wherein the lifting subframe is triangular in shape.

16. The transport of claim 15, wherein the lifting subframe includes a bearing point at each corner of the subframe for supporting the Flettner rotor, in use. 17. The transport of any of claims 14 to 16, when dependent upon one or more of claims 2 to 6, wherein each lifting point engages the lifting subframe and, preferably, a corner of the lifting subframe.

18. A vessel comprising: a transport comprising a trolley adapted to convey a Flettner rotor over a deck of a vessel; and

a railway for guiding movement of the transport over the deck of the vessel.

19. The vessel of claim 19, further comprising a support structure supporting the railway such that the railway is raised above the deck of the vessel.

20. The vessel of claim 18 or claim 19, wherein the transport is the transport of any of claims 1 to 17.

21 . The vessel of claim 18 or claim 20, further comprising a foundation on the deck of the vessel for supporting a Flettner rotor. 22. A method of conveying a Flettner rotor over a deck of a vessel, the method comprising the steps of:

moving a transport along a railway into a position underneath the Flettner rotor;

raising a lifting subframe of the transport to engage with an underside of the Flettner rotor, thereby transferring the weight of the Flettner rotor from a foundation to the trolley; and

conveying the transport with the Flettner rotor along the railway over the deck of the vessel. 23. The method of claim 22, further comprising the steps of:

conveying the transport with the Flettner rotor to a storage foundation; and

lowering the lifting subframe of the transport, thereby transferring the weight of the Flettner rotor from the trolley onto the storage foundation.

24. A foundation for supporting a Flettner rotor, the foundation comprising two foundation supports for contacting a deck of a vessel either side of a railway located on the deck of the vessel, such that a cavity is defined by the foundation supports through which a transport can be driven along the railway.

25. The foundation of claim 24, wherein each foundation support comprises at least one bearing point upon which, in use, a corresponding bearing point receiving location of the Flettner rotor rests, preferably, wherein each bearing point is dome shaped.

26. The foundation of either of claim 24 and claim 25, wherein the foundation further comprises at least one securing point which, in use, can be used to secure the Flettner rotor to the foundation.

Description:
A TRANSPORT

Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to a transport for conveying a Flettner rotor over the deck of a ship and, more particularly, to transports comprising a trolley for rolling engagement with a railway for conveying a Flettner rotor over the deck of a ship.

Background to the Invention

Flettner rotors, also known as Magnus rotors, can be used on waterborne vessels for propulsion. Such rotors make use of the Magnus effect for vessel propulsion.

The term Flettner rotor, as used in this application, refers to the entire machine, not just the rotor body.

Flettner rotors are generally placed upright, in use, on the deck of waterborne vessels. Typically, Flettner rotors comprise an outer rotor body in the form of a cylindrical tube disposed about a stator, the rotor body being coupled to the stator via a rotatable coupling, normally comprising an upper bearing towards the top end of the stator and a lower bearing lower down the stator, often at about a mid-point thereof. The stator is typically connected to a base, which is in turn connected to the vessel deck. The rotor body may be longer than and project above the stator, such that the upper bearing may be at about the mid- point of the rotor body height.

In the case of a Flettner rotor fitted to a waterborne vessel, the rotor body is caused to rotate about its vertical axis and, as the surrounding airflow moves over the spinning rotor body, the relative motion between the spinning body of the rotor body and the air gives rise to pressure differences in the air. The side of the rotor body which is rotating into the airflow retards the airflow locally as a result of the drag caused by the surface of the rotor body, whereas the side of the rotor body which is rotating away from the airflow speeds up the airflow locally. A high pressure region then develops on the side of the rotor body which is rotating into the airflow and a low pressure region develops on the side of the rotor body which is rotating away from the airflow. As such, a force in the direction of the low pressure region of the rotor body is generated and the force is transferred to the vessel, and this force may assist in the propulsion of the vessel. Multiple Flettner rotors can be used in conjunction on a single vessel.

A modern day application of the Flettner rotor is on large vessels such as cargo ships. Flettner rotors are used during transit in conjunction with a vessel's primary propulsion system so as to reduce the burden on the primary propulsion system. This can lead to significant fuel savings, in particular, for long distance journeys under suitable wind conditions. Flettner rotors can present a more efficient means of ship propulsion as compared to the main drive system and therefore the environmental impact of vessels fitted with Flettner rotors can be significantly reduced as compared to vessels which are not so equipped.

Issues can arise when a vessel which has been fitted with one or more Flettner rotors while the vessel is at port due to the size of the rotor bodies and their location on the deck of the vessel. The Flettner rotors can obstruct access of cranes and loading, discharging and other machinery to the deck of the vessel. This can cause delays in loading and unloading of the vessel and can also be hazardous.

As such, there is a need to provide a means by which Flettner rotors may be used on the deck of a vessel to provide the aforementioned fuel saving benefits without the drawback that access to the vessel is obstructed.

Summary of the Invention

According to a first aspect of the invention, there is provided a transport for a conveying a Flettner rotor over a deck of a vessel, the transport comprising: a trolley for rolling engagement with a railway, the trolley comprising: a chassis with wheels for engaging the railway; and a load bearing mechanism configured to engage a base of the Flettner rotor to transfer the load of the Flettner rotor to the railway. The transport can be used to move Flettner rotors over the deck of a vessel in an efficient and straightforward manner so that they do not obstruct access of cranes and loading, discharging and other machinery to the deck of the vessel. Preferably, the load bearing mechanism comprises at least one lifting point and, preferably, three lifting points.

Preferably, the at least one lifting point comprises at least one jack and, preferably, wherein the at least one jack comprises a screw jack further and a travelling nut.

Preferably, the at least one lifting point comprises three lifting points, preferably the three lifting points comprise at least three jacks and, more preferably, wherein the three jacks are synchronised.

Where the three jacks are synchronised, they progress at the same rate which provides reliable movement and greater control and stability during an operation to lift a Flettner rotor. Preferably, two of the lifting points are located towards either end of a first side of the chassis and one of the lifting points is located centrally on a second opposing side of the chassis.

Preferably, two wheels are located on the second opposing side of the chassis, wherein the lifting point located centrally on the second opposing side of the chassis is configured to act as a point about which the Flettner rotor can pivot when the transport is bearing its load, such that even load distribution across the two wheels located on the second opposing side is maintained. Advantageously, this feature ensures good traction of the two wheels with the railway is maintained, reducing the likelihood of any wheel slippage.

Preferably, the load bearing mechanism is electrically powered, preferably by an on board battery. Preferably, at least one of the wheels is a double flanged wheel.

This prevents lateral movement of the wheels relative to the rail with which they are engaged.

Preferably, at least one of the wheels is configured to engage a flat rail.

Advantageously, lateral movement of the wheel which engages the flat rail relative to the flat rail is permitted. The unrestricted lateral movement of the wheel means that this wheel does not experience lateral loads.

Preferably, the trolley further comprises a drive mechanism for driving at least one of the wheels.

Preferably, the drive mechanism is configured to drive wheels on only one side of the transport.

In this way, the longitudinal loads generated by the drive mechanism act on one line which reduces the likelihood of crabbing and enables simpler control of the transport.

Preferably, the drive mechanism is electrically powered, preferably by an on board battery.

Preferably, the chassis is flexible for improved wheel engagement with railway height variation whereby the chassis is able to warp to maintain wheel engagement with the railway. This reduces the likelihood of wheel slippage as good traction is maintained. It also removes the need for bogies and suspension.

Preferably, the chassis has a generally square or rectangular configuration. Preferably, the trolley further comprises a lifting subframe, preferably, wherein the lifting subframe is triangular in shape.

Preferably, the lifting subframe includes a bearing point at each corner of the subframe for supporting the Flettner rotor, in use.

Preferably, each lifting point engages the lifting subframe and, preferably, a corner of the lifting subframe. According to a second aspect of the invention, there is provided a vessel comprising: a transport comprising a trolley adapted to convey a Flettner rotor over a deck of a vessel; and a railway for guiding movement of the transport over the deck of the vessel. The transport can be used to move Flettner rotors over the deck of the vessel in an efficient and straightforward manner so that they do not obstruct access of cranes and loading, discharging and other machinery to the deck of the vessel.

Preferably, the vessel further comprises a support structure supporting the railway such that the railway is raised above the deck of the vessel.

Preferably, the transport is the transport of the first aspect of the invention.

Preferably, the vessel further comprises a foundation on the deck of the vessel for supporting a Flettner rotor.

According to a third aspect of the invention, there is provided a method of conveying a Flettner rotor over a deck of a vessel, the method comprising the steps of: moving a transport along a railway into a position underneath the Flettner rotor; raising a lifting subframe of the transport to engage with an underside of the Flettner rotor, thereby transferring the weight of the Flettner rotor from a foundation to the trolley; and conveying the transport with the Flettner rotor along the railway over the deck of the vessel. Preferably, the method further comprises the steps of: conveying the transport with the Flettner rotor to a storage foundation; and lowering the lifting subframe of the transport, thereby transferring the weight of the Flettner rotor from the trolley onto the storage foundation.

According to a fourth aspect of the invention, there is provided a foundation for supporting a Flettner rotor, the foundation comprising two foundation supports for contacting a deck of a vessel either side of a railway located on the deck of the vessel, such that a cavity is defined by the foundation supports through which a transport can be driven along the railway.

Preferably, each foundation support comprises at least one bearing point upon which, in use, a corresponding bearing point receiving location of the Flettner rotor rests, preferably, wherein each bearing point is dome shaped.

Preferably, the foundation further comprises at least one securing point which, in use, can be used to secure the Flettner rotor to the foundation.

Brief Description of Drawings

Embodiments of the present invention will now be described, by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

Figure 1 a depicts a plan view of a vessel comprising a transport on a railway and a Flettner rotor wherein the railway runs longitudinally over the deck of the vessel;

Figure 1 b depicts a plan view of a vessel comprising a transport on a railway and a Flettner rotor, wherein the railway runs transversely over the deck of the vessel;

Figure 1 c depicts a plan view of a vessel comprising a transport on a railway and a Flettner rotor, wherein the railway runs longitudinally and transversely over the deck of the vessel; Figure 2 depicts the transport depicted in Figure 1 in greater detail;

Figure 3a depicts the Flettner rotor depicted in Figure 1 in greater detail; Figure 3b depicts foundation supports of a foundation;

Figure 4 depicts an integrated lifting mechanism of the transport of Figures 1 and 3 in isolation; Figure 5a depicts an integrated drive mechanism of the transport of Figures 1 and 3 in isolation; and

Figure 5b depicts an alternative integrated drive mechanism. Detailed Description

The present invention is directed to a transport which conveys a Flettner rotor along a railway on the deck of a vessel. The term railway, as used in this application, refers to a pair of parallel tracks or rails along which the transport can travel.

In one embodiment, the railway runs longitudinally over the deck of a vessel. Where the terms inboard and outboard are used herein, it will be understood that inboard components are those which are relatively closer to the longitudinal centreline of the vessel upon which the components are located than corresponding outboard components, and that outboard components are those which are relatively further from the longitudinal centreline of the vessel than corresponding inboard components.

In another embodiment, the railway runs transversely over the deck of a vessel. The inboard or outboard components described herein could just as easily be aft components (i.e. the components which are relatively closer to the stern of the vessel) and the outboard or inboard components described herein could just as easily be forward components (i.e. the components which are relatively closer to the front of the vessel).

In another embodiment, the railway runs transversely and longitudinally over the deck of a vessel.

Figure 1 a depicts a plan view of a vessel 100a. Located on the deck of the vessel 100a is a railway 103a which runs longitudinally over the deck of the vessel. The railway 103a comprises an inboard rail 102 and an outboard rail 104 which run along the length of the deck of the vessel 100a on the starboard side. The inboard rail 102 is the rail closest to the longitudinal centreline of the vessel 100a and the outboard rail 104 is the rail furthest from the longitudinal centreline of the vessel 100a. Also depicted in Figure 1 a is a transport for a conveying a Flettner rotor over the deck of the vessel 100a, the transport comprising a trolley 200, and a Flettner rotor 106.

Figure 1 b depicts a plan view of a vessel 100b according to an alternative embodiment. Located on the deck of the vessel 100b is a railway 103b which runs transversely over the deck of the vessel 100b. The depicted railway 103b comprises three pairs of transversely extending rails which run along the width of the deck of the vessel 100b. Other numbers of pairs of transversely extending rails are envisaged.

Also depicted in Figure 1 b is a transport for conveying a Flettner rotor over the deck of the vessel 100b, the transport comprising a trolley 200, and a Flettner rotor 106. Figure 1 c depicts a plan view of a vessel 100c according to a further alternative embodiment. Located on the deck of the vessel 100c is a railway 103c which runs transversely and longitudinally over the deck of the vessel 100c. The railway 103c comprises a network of transversely and longitudinally extending rails which run along the width of the deck of the vessel 100c. Also depicted in Figure 1 c is a transport for conveying a Flettner rotor over the deck of the vessel 100c, the transport comprising a trolley 200, and a Flettner rotor 106.

In an alternative embodiment, the railway may be provided on a support structure supporting the railway such that the railway is raised above the deck of the vessel. Advantageously, this provides clearance over deck fittings on the vessel deck.

Figure 2 depicts the transport sitting on the railway 103a depicted in Figure 1 a in greater detail. As such, various components of the transport will be described as inboard and outboard components based on their position relative to the vessel 100a depicted in Figure 1 a. It will be understood that, were the transport to be sitting on the railway 103b depicted in Figure 1 b, the various components would be labelled forward and aft, depending on the orientation of the transport.

The transport comprises a trolley 200 which comprises four wheels, two of which are outboard wheels 202 and two of which are inboard wheels 203, a chassis 204 and a triangular lifting subframe 206. The trolley further comprises an integrated lifting mechanism in the form of three screw jacks 208 coupled between the chassis 204 and the lifting subframe 206, for raising the lifting subframe 206 relative to the chassis, and an integrated drive mechanism in the form of two drive mechanism motors 210, one coupled to each outboard wheel 202.

All the mechanical components required for movement of Flettner rotors are fitted to the chassis 204 of the trolley 200. The transport is interchangeable and can be used to service multiple Flettner rotors on the deck of a vessel, as shall be described in greater detail below. The transport provides a much simpler, easier to maintain, more efficient and more cost effective system for movement of Flettner rotors as opposed to building movement functions into each Flettner rotor. The chassis 204 and lifting subframe 206 may be made of steel, although it will be understood that any other suitable materials may be used.

The chassis 204 is substantially rectangular in shape with a grillage fabrication, as depicted in Figure 2. The main structure of the chassis 204 being parallel inboard and outboard longitudinal beams, to which the inboard and outboard wheels 203 and 202 are respectively fitted, with a plan bracing system. The rectangular chassis 204 provides a long wheelbase for improved stability. The chassis 204 is flexible for improved wheel engagement with railway height variation whereby the chassis is able to warp out of the horizontal plane of the chassis 204 in a rest position to maintain wheel engagement with the railway 103a. This also removes the need for bogies and suspension. The trolley is preferably approximately 5000mm in length and 3600mm in width, although these dimensions can be varied depending on the specific application. For example, the dimensions can be varied dependent on those of the railway 103a and Flettner rotor 106 and any other such parameters, as would be understood by the skilled person.

Wherever possible, the components fitted to the trolley will be accessible for easy servicing.

The lifting subframe 206 is substantially triangular in shape. Two of the screw jacks 208 are located on an inboard side of the trolley 200, one at each corner of the inboard side of lifting subframe 206, and one of the screw jacks 208 is located on an outboard side of the trolley 200 at the corner on the outboard side of the lifting subframe 206. The lifting subframe 206 comprises a bearing point 212 at each corner of the lifting subframe 206 for supporting a Flettner rotor in use. These bearing points 212 are located directly above the point at which a corresponding one of the screw jacks 208 engages the lifting subframe 206. Each bearing point 212 is configured to engage an underside of a Flettner rotor such that the load of the Flettner rotor is born by the bearing points 212 as the lifting subframe 206 is raised, as shall be described in greater detail below.

The transport may further comprise a storm brake which acts as a failsafe locking mechanism to secure the trolley 200 in position should any issues arise, particularly when the transport is loaded with a Flettner rotor. It can also be used to secure trolley 200 in position for storage of a Flettner rotor loaded onto the transport. Alternatively, structural stops may be provided at discrete locations along the length of the railway 103a, 103b, 103c which the trolley 200 may be secured to. A mechanism may also be provided by which the trolley may be lashed to the deck at any location.

The transport may further comprise sensors to detect: obstacles in the path of the transport, derailment of the transport, any tilt transport/railway/vessel, the relative positions of the lifting subframe 206 and the chassis 204 of the transport, and the position of the transport along the railway 103a (e.g. to determine if it is in the correct place along the railway 103a to perform a lifting operation, i.e. is it position at the correct location underneath the Flettner rotor 106). An audible alarm may be sounded, a visual signal may be provided and/or an auto stop feature may be engaged should, for example, an object be detected in the path of the transport, should the tilt or trim of the transport exceed a predetermined threshold level (e.g. beyond 3 s ), should derailment of the transport occur, should the transport be in an incorrect position along the railway where the user attempts to perform a lifting operation.

The transport may further comprise a control pendant, control unit, remote control, pedestal at a fixed location on the deck, or other suitable controller to allow operation of the transport by deck crew. The speed of the transport may be configurable to be set at a slow walking pace so that an operator can control the transport while walking alongside the transport.

The transport may further comprise buffers, such as crane buffers, to bring the trolley 200 to a controlled stop at the limits of the track and should two transports meet one another. Equipment fitted to the outboard longitudinal beam of the chassis 204 includes the drive mechanism, a safety storm brake, and couplings. In this way all longitudinal loads (except inertia and wind load) act on one line which reduces the likelihood of crabbing and enables simpler control of the transport.

All the powered components of the transport may be battery powered, primarily the drive and lifting mechanisms. A battery pack may be provided on the transport to provide the power to these components. They may, alternatively, be powered by an electrical supply located on the vessel 100a.

The trolley 200 is depicted sitting on the railway depicted in Figure 1 a, which comprises an inboard rail 102, in the form of a flat rail, and an outboard rail 104, which is a tee section. The outboard rail 104 may also be substantially l-shaped or T-shaped in cross section. As such, the camber of the deck of the vessel 100a can be counter acted as the outboard wheels 202 will be located higher than the inboard wheels 203 meaning that the transport remains level.

In the transverse railway 103b depicted in Figure 1 b, both rails may be in the form of a flat rail as there is no need to counteract the camber of the deck of the vessel 10b.

The trolley 200 is in frictional rolling engagement with the railway via the outboard and inboard wheels 202 and 203. As such, no grease is required on deck in order for the transport to operate, which could be potentially hazardous. In an alternative embodiment, the engagement between the wheels and one or more of the rails could be a tooth and gear type engagement. One of the rails may comprise teeth which engage with corresponding gears comprising part of one or more of the wheels.

In one embodiment, the two outboard wheels 202 are configured to engage the outboard rail 104, and are double flanged to prevent lateral movement of the outboard wheels 202 relative to the outboard rail 104. The two inboard wheels 203 are configured to engage the flat inboard rail 102, and the outer surface of the inboard wheels 203 is substantially flat such that lateral movement of the inboard wheels 203 relative to the flat outboard rail 104 is permitted. The unrestricted lateral movement of the inboard wheels 203 relative to the outboard wheels 202, which results from their flat tread, means that the inboard wheels 203 do not experience lateral loads. All horizontal loads transverse to the railway are reacted onto the rail by the wheel flanges. A long wheelbase on the flanged outboard wheels 202 ensures good tracking meaning the transport is much easier to control. This limits any 'crabbing' (skewing) from occurring, which would otherwise be a potential issue when the trolley 200 is moving under the load of the Flettner rotor 106.

Figure 3a depicts the Flettner rotor 106 of Figure 1 a in greater detail. The Flettner rotor 106 is in an operating position with the inboard rail 102 and the outboard rail 104 of the railway running beneath it. As can be seen in Figure 3a, the Flettner rotor 106 comprises a pedestal 302 and a rotor body 304. The pedestal 302 sits on a foundation on the deck of the vessel in the form of two foundation supports 306 located either side of the railway. The Flettner rotor 106 may be secured to the foundation supports 306 via lashings or other suitable securing mechanism.

Figure 3b depicts the foundation supports 306 in greater detail. Each foundation support 306 comprises two bearing points 312 upon which the Flettner rotor 106 rests as well as a lashing/securing point 310. In its operating position, the Flettner rotor 106 straddles the railway and a cavity is provided underneath the Flettner rotor 106 and between the two foundation supports 306 such that the transport can be driven underneath the Flettner rotor 106 and pass through the cavity. The bearing points 312 are configured to engage corresponding bearing point receiving locations on the underside of the Flettner rotor pedestal 302 in a cup and dome type arrangement. The bearing points 312 on the foundation supports 306 are dome shaped and the bearing point receiving locations on the underside of the Flettner rotor 106 pedestal 302 are cup shaped. The Flettner rotor 106 can be lashed, or otherwise secured, to the foundation supports 306 via the lashing/securing point 310. Turnbuckles may be used as lashings.

By virtue of this design, misalignments between the foundation supports 306 and the Flettner rotor 106 can be accommodated which allows for looser build tolerances, and short or long term changes in deck shape (bending, warping etc.).

As mentioned above, the trolley 200 can be moved along the railway to a position underneath the pedestal 302 of the Flettner rotor 106. Once in a position underneath the Flettner rotor 106, the integrated lifting mechanism of the transport is used to raise the lifting subframe 206 until the bearing points 212 of the lifting subframe 206 engage the underside of the pedestal 302 of the Flettner rotor 106. Continued raising of the lifting subframe 206 relative to the chassis 204 by the integrated lifting mechanism lifts the Flettner rotor 106 from the foundation supports 306 on the deck of the vessel, thereby transferring the load of the Flettner rotor 106 onto the trolley 200. From this position, movement of the trolley 200 along the railway moves the Flettner rotor 106. Where the Flettner rotor 106 is lashed to the foundation supports 306, the lashings are removed before the lifting subframe 206 is engaged with the underside of the pedestal 302 of the Flettner rotor 106. The transport may be provided with a mechanism for securing the pedestal 302 to trolley once it has been lifted off the foundation supports 306. The operation of the transport will be described in greater detail below.

Figure 4 depicts the aforementioned integrated lifting mechanism of the transport in isolation. The outboard screw jack 208 is connected to an electrical screw jack motor 402 by a transverse drive shaft 404. A further transverse drive shaft 410 connects the screw jack motor 402 to a gear box 408 which is in turn connected to two longitudinal drive shafts 406 which are each connected to a respective inboard screw jack 208. In this configuration, a single screw jack motor 402 can be used to drive all three screw jacks 208. The screw jack motor 402 is powered by electricity. Advantageously, this arrangement ensures that each screw jack 208 is wound at the same rate such that they are synchronous and progress at the same rate. This provides reliable movement and greater control during a lifting operation. Each screw jack 208 comprises a lifting screw 412 upon which a travelling nut 410 is located. The lifting screw 412 is coupled to an input shaft comprising a worm gear such that rotation of the input shaft rotates the lifting screw 412. The input shaft itself is coupled to its corresponding drive shaft. The travelling nut 410 is fixed to the lifting subframe 206 such that rotation of the travelling nut 410 relative to the lifting subframe 206 is prevented. Rotation of the lifting screw 412 by the input shaft raises and lowers the travelling nut 410 and, therefore, the lifting subframe 206.

Each screw jack 208 may be an ACME screw jack with a captive nut.

The screw jacks 208 are mechanical rather than hydraulic. As such, they can also be wound by hand. This is useful as it means the lifting system can still be operated even if there is a power failure. It is noted that any form of jack may be used in order to provide the lifting function of the transport and that the illustrated arrangement is merely preferable.

The bases of the screw jacks are coupled to the chassis 204 and the travelling nut 410 of each of the screw jacks are coupled to the lifting subframe 206. When the screw jack motor 402 drives the screw jacks 208, the lifting subframe 206 is raised relative to the chassis 204 by the screw jacks 208 to perform the aforementioned lifting function. The relative locations of the single outboard and two inboard screw jacks 208 facilitates articulation of the Flettner rotor 106 when loaded into the lifting subframe 206 relative to the chassis 204 of the transport, as a degree of pivoting around the single outboard screw jack 208 is permitted. This ensures that the load on the outboard wheels 202 remains evenly distributed which is important as good traction with the railway 103a is maintained reducing the likelihood of any wheel slippage, particularly as the outboard wheels 202 are those driven by the driving mechanism. Figure 5a depicts the aforementioned integrated drive mechanism of the transport, as depicted in Figure 2, in isolation. Each outboard wheel 202 is directly driven by a respective drive mechanism motor 210. The inboard wheels 203 are freely rotatable. Where a railway which runs transversely over the deck of the vessel is provided, it is preferable that the aft wheels are those which are each driven by a respective drive mechanism motor 210, so as to provide protection from weather when the vessel is at sea. Figure 5b depicts an alternative embodiment of the aforementioned integrated drive mechanism of the transport in isolation. In this embodiment of the integrated drive mechanism, the two outboard wheels 202 are coupled to a single drive mechanism motor 502 by respective drive shafts 504 and gear boxes 506.

In both arrangements, the driven outboard wheels 202 are on the same side of the chassis 204 as the single outboard screw jack 208 which ensures that the load on the driven outboard wheels 202 is evenly distributed via the aforementioned pivoting mechanism, thereby ensuring that a frictional engagement between the driven outboard wheels 202 and the outboard rail 104 is maintained.

The two drive mechanism motors 210 shown in Figure 2 and the single drive mechanism motor 502 shown in Figure 5b are powered by electricity.

In an alternative embodiment, the transport may not comprise an integrated drive mechanism. Instead, all of the wheels of the transport may all be freely rotatable and the transport may be manually moved or may be moved by a winching system. The mode of operation of the transport will now be described in more detail. In order to move the Flettner rotor 106, the transport is driven to a position beneath the pedestal 302 of the Flettner rotor 106. Any lashings or other securing mechanism between the pedestal 302 and the foundation supports 306 are removed. The lifting mechanism then raises the lifting subframe 206 relative to the chassis 204 such that the lifting subframe 206 engages the underside of the pedestal 302. The pedestal 302 may be secured to the lifting subframe 206. The lifting subframe 206 is then raised further such that the load of the Flettner rotor 106 is transferred from the foundation supports 306 onto the bearing point 212 of the lifting subframe 206 and such that sufficient clearance is provided for the transport to take the load and such that the Flettner rotor 106 can be moved from the foundation supports 306. At this point, the transport is in a position to move the Flettner rotor 106. The Flettner rotor 106 may be moved along the railway by the transport to a storage location comprising a storage foundation support onto which the Flettner rotor 106 can be lowered by the transport for storage for the duration of a storage period, usually while the vessel 100a is being loaded and/or unloaded. The storage foundation support may be provided away from the centre of the vessel 100, for example, toward the forward or aft end of the vessel 100a such that the central area of the vessel is unobstructed by the Flettner rotor 106.

Alternatively, the Flettner rotor 106 may be stored on the transport. The transport may move the Flettner rotor 106 along the railway to a storage location away from the centre of the vessel 100a. The lifting subframe 206, with the Flettner rotor 106 on top of it, may be lowered back toward the chassis 204 into a storage position. The storm brake of the transport may be used to lock the transport and Flettner rotor 106 in place for the duration of the storage period. Alternatively, structural stops along the railway may be used to lock the transport and Flettner rotor 106 in place, where provided. Once the storage period has ended, the transport can be used to return the Flettner rotor 106 to its operating position by reversing the aforementioned steps and returning the Flettner rotor 106 to the foundation supports 306. It will be understood that a single transport may be used to move a plurality of Flettner rotors 106 from their respective foundation supports to corresponding storage foundation supports. A plurality of storage foundation supports may be provided away from the centre of the vessel 100a, for example, toward the forward or aft end of the vessel 100a.

Alternatively, multiple transports may be provided, e.g. one for each Flettner rotor 106 installed on the vessel 100a. Each transport may be provided with coupling for coupling the transport together to form a train. In this way, multiple transports can be moved by a single drive mechanism or means and can be controlled as a single unit.

The aforementioned operations are preferably carried out in sheltered water, usually when the vessel 100a is in harbour.