Reefer vessels have refrigerated storage rooms that are cooled by central refrigeration systems. Inside refrigerated goods are stored as break-bulks or on pallets. Modern reefer vessels can also transport reefer containers on deck yielding the doubled amount of refrigeration capacity.
The durability of fruits and vegetables is not only extended by refrigeration but also by changing the air composition in the room (container) due to Controlled Atmosphere (CA). Generally the oxygen content is lowered to 1-3% (normal air: 21%) and the carbon dioxide content is raised to 5-25% (normal air: 0,03%). The atmosphere composition that yields the longest durability depends mainly on the kind of fruit, the type of fruit, the cultivation area and the time of harvest.
Today, reefer vessels with CA are primarily used to ship bananas from Central America and West Africa to Europe.
The Dr.-Ing. Yves Wild Ingenieurbüro GmbH consults shipping companies regarding the energy consumption during the transport of refrigerated goods over seas and examines cases of damage on board of reefer vessels. Mr. Dr. Wild wrote his thesis about the usage of CA for maritime transport.