28 July 2005
When the existing fender system can suffer damage due to motions of moored
ships, a camel can be useful in reducing the damage as long as it is properly
placed and the ship is properly moored.
These are large-diameter turned timber logs (24- to 36-in [610 to 914 mm]
diameter 40 to 50 ft [12.2 to 15.2 m] long,) held in the desired position from the
deck by nylon ropes or chains. They are usually allowed to float with the tide.
The longer length is preferred as they can distribute the load to a greater number
of piles. Multiple log camels are made from several smaller diameter logs held
together by wire rope at ends and at center. They are not as efficient as the
single log camels. Plastic coated steel pipes have also been used successfully
as camels. The pipe core is generally filled with foam to ensure positive flotation.
Log camels fabricated from recycled plastics and composite materials are
available. Sometimes a series of used tires may be fitted through the log to
provide some energy absorption. Log camels do not provide much of a
separation. When a wider separation is needed, other types of camels are more
These consist of several large timbers connected together by struts and cross
braces to form a large crib. Additional flotation units may be inserted between
the timbers for a higher freeboard. Wear causes bolt heads to become exposed
and thus cause damage to hulls.
Steel Pontoon Camels.
These are made of cubical or cylindrical steel pontoons connected by structural
framing. The pontoons should preferably be filled with foam to reduce the risk of
losing flotation by accidental puncturing of the units.
For submarine berthing where a good portion of the body is below the waterline,
all the above camels are inadequate, as the camel will ride up on the submarine
during berthing. Hence, deep-draft camels have been developed. They have a
limited energy absorption and a narrow working platform. These camels work
well when mooring against a tender ship and for multiple berthing. When used
against an open pier or wharf, these camels will require solid backing elements
(below waterline) from the fender system.