Author: Rik van Hemmen

Aberration; Powerplant design

In my prior blog on Aberration I promised to write a discussion on the propulsion system and the whole powerplant design. It is probably most useful to describe the whole powerplant design process to see how things eventually came together. That makes it a long story, but should be an interesting opportunity to go down… Read more »

Separating Rotzooi from Technical Reality

  Note: The Waterpomptang family is fictitious and occasionally a Waterpomptang story appears on the M&O website. Some say their adventures resemble real events, but that is just a coincidence.   Bolle was comfortably seated in one of the creaky white oak surplus Liberty ship chairs in Willem’s office above the BuyLo Packy in Red… Read more »

Henk van Hemmen the Elder’s encounter with WWII

In the prior blog I discussed my grandfather’s favorite ship, the HEDEL. I got on the subject because of a weblink my Uncle Ed emailed me. The weblink my Uncle sent me actually referred to the JONGE WILLEM, a ship my grandfather sailed on immediately prior to World War II. During the depression he was… Read more »

Henk van Hemmen the Elder’s Hedel (TBT)

My Grandfather, Henk van Hemmen’s favorite ship was the HEDEL. She was built as AGIRA to LR class for the Norddeutscher Lloyd at AG Weser in 1930. During World War II she was named the SPREE and in 1944 she struck a mine. She was heavily damaged, but accepted as a reparation from Germany by… Read more »

Aberration; an Update and Personal Critique

Since my blog on Aberration in October last year, the concept has come to life and is now operating to a level where I can ponder my brilliance (right) and mistakes. As a designer it is particularly interesting and cathartic to find yourself on the receiving end of the design. I often write blogs to… Read more »

Leadership, Passion and Commercial Reality

I only met Leon Hess a few times and then only quickly, but our company has been deeply intertwined with Hess Oil almost since Hess Oil’s inception. Since Leon Hess grew up on the Jersey Shore, he also interacted with my wife’s grandfather (who was the Chairman of the First Merchant Bank of Asbury Park)… Read more »

The Rough Road to a New Reality. My First EV Long Haul

We have had our car charger at M&O now for a number of months, but today was the first day we had two cars “achargin”. I was fun to provide the hospitality to one of our friends who came to visit, especially since recently I made my first professional EV foray into the Pinebarrens of… Read more »

All the Work that Fits a Blog

Since we updated our website with a blog function in 2011, I more or less committed myself to posting a blog each month. Somehow, I more or less stuck with that commitment, but I just noticed that we did not post a new blog for January 2021. I also noticed that this happens to be… Read more »

Make Mine Half Size (A Late M&O Christmas Present)

As usual the Martin & Ottaway Christmas present is late. But maybe I should call it a New Year’s present anyway. This year it is a story. I wrote it late in the last century. It has sort of been published in various places, one of which was a website that I can no longer… Read more »

The Big Maritime Things in 2020

I ended my 2019 annual review with an admonition not to work like a robot or you will be replaced by one quickly. The comment was intended to warn engineers to be innovative or they will be replaced by robots. Now, at the end of 2020, I have a whole new vision of the effect… Read more »

If You Build It They Will Come

  The movie Field of Dreams was a little too dreamy for me, but the main line of the movie: “If you build it they will come”, never quite left me. In some cases it actually could be true. Within the office we have discussed using EV’s for company cars a number of times. While… Read more »

Alla Tsiring on Throw Back Thursday

Alla Tsiring’s adventures did not start when she joined Martin & Ottaway in 1994 as our book keeper. Her adventures started in Russia and included her escape with her husband Lenny during a period of Glasnost with intermediate stops at all sorts of interesting places. However, she had never gone on a ship survey during… Read more »

Hybrid Propulsion; Stinkpotting for Raghaulers

  Due to the fact that my wife became wheelchair bound recently, I am in the middle of the design and construction of a 35 foot hybrid propulsion wheel chair friendly catamaran. Together with the boat design and construction masters of Scarano boats, I am converting a 1996 medium to high performance 35 foot sailing… Read more »

Negotiations in Five Short Stories, Part Two

Note: The Waterpomptang family is fictitious and occasionally a Waterpomptang story appears on the M&O website. Some say their adventures resemble real events, but that is just a coincidence. This is Part 2, for Part 1 click here   After Truus came aboard, Marina took Froetjers out her slip and headed downriver to the Shrewsbury… Read more »

Negotiations in Five Short Stories, Part One

Note: The Waterpomptang family is fictitious and occasionally a Waterpomptang story appears on the M&O website. Some say their adventures resemble real events, but that is just a coincidence.   It was early morning at Watt & Fulton’s office above the BuyLo Packy in Red Bank. Willem was finishing his pork roll and egg sandwich… Read more »

So, How Much Cheaper is Containerization?

  Besides all other Coronavirus upheavals, it has also affected our intern program. Joseph Schwarz, starting Penn State Engineering Junior was supposed to join us for the summer, but with an office that practices social distancing a face to face internship became quite impractical. In order to provide Joe with a somewhat meaningful training experience… Read more »

Pitching your Tent in Dog Doo

Living is nothing more than postponing the moment where you kill yourself. So far so good, but I have come really close a number of times. And retrospectively, mostly due to a lack of attention to the details. One that continues to stand out to me was when I was a student at Virginia Tech…. Read more »

Coronavirus; Why don’t we think through the problem first?

  While our coronavirus experience seems so novel, in the arc of maritime history, pandemics like this are far from unusual. Actually, the most unusual part of the present pandemic is that we have not had to deal with a pandemic like this for over 100 years. Taking into account that in those 100 years… Read more »

New Jersey Global Warming Data to Defeat Deniers

I was searching for some local rainfall information and came across a lovely meteorological summary of New Jersey weather posted on the NJ State Climatologist website. It provides a long listing of temperatures and rainfall, and Mirna captured New Jersey average temperatures since 1895 in the pictures below. In reviewing the data I found myself… Read more »

Introducing James “Jim” Kline

While Martin & Ottaway has always worked very closely with the United States Coast Guard, we have never had a Martin & Ottaway consultant with a United States Coast Guard background. There was never a specific reason for that, except to note that possibly the right mutual opportunity never presented itself. However, today,  it gives… Read more »

The Unpredictability of Innovation in Wheelchair Use

Standard wheelchairs have not changed in decades. It is a chair with wheels and has foot pads to support a person’s feet and to keep them from dragging on the ground. The foot pads are actually quite complicated, because they need to flip away when the person is being seated or stands up and they… Read more »

Death by Ship Value

Martin & Ottaway has been performing ship values since its formation in 1875. Our records go back to the late 1800’s and we have hung onto our historic records through all our office moves. A lot of our actual project work has now been digitized which is a huge space saver, but other paper records… Read more »

Build a Little, Test a Little and Learn a Lot; A Waterpomptang story

  Note: The Waterpomptang family is fictitious and occasionally a Waterpomptang story appears on the M&O website. Some say their adventures resemble real events, but that is just a coincidence.   It was early morning at Watt & Fulton’s office above the BuyLo Packy in Red Bank. After the VC investors had overcome their initial… Read more »

Hey UN! Here is your Golden Opportunity for Global Relevance

    Earlier this week the United Nations issued the “2020 World Economic Situations and Prospects report,” a high-level annual report. It is chock full of economic information collected by just about every United Nations Economic analysis body. The report has a foreword by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.  In it, he stresses the importance of… Read more »

The Big Maritime Thing(s) in 2019

I actually enjoy taking stock of a past year in its last few days. The office tends to be quiet and a few moments of introspection can be interesting. This year I did not have any real innovations or significant developments in mind as far as 2019 milestones are concerned. I wondered if 2019 was… Read more »

Marmaduke Redux

Marmaduke Surfaceblow was a much beloved character in a monthly column in the trade magazine Power Magazine. I very much enjoyed reading the stories. Marmaduke was a fictional character who was a ship’s engineer who became an engineering consultant. Marmaduke traveled the world and solved various power problems. The problems probably were actual technical problems… Read more »

Solar Math Update

I installed roof top solar on my house in July 2017 and wrote a blog about it promising to provide an update in a few months. I did not get to it until now, but after more than two years of operation it is even more fun to revisit the project to see how it… Read more »

Liberty Meats

By a weird coincidence my sister, Annemarie, came across this story that my father,  Henk van Hemmen, wrote on Veteran’s Day in 2004. “Liberty” Meats Looking into the history of warfare and battle ground victories it is a well-known fact that in general terms, the army that is well-fitted out and well-fed will have a tremendous… Read more »

Barbados: The Goldilocks Approach to Sustainability

Mathematically, worldwide sustainable energy is a real possibility, but it will require a very significant change in thinking, attitudes, efforts, and financial commitments to accomplish. All over the world we are encountering experiments, trials, and even significant changes in human attitudes, but, so far, we cannot point at an integrated success story of societal change…. Read more »

Environmental Game Theory, A Story About Endangered Birds

The wreck had spilled some heavy fuel oil and wildlife had been affected. The wreck was on the beach, waves were about 12 feet high and it was unlikely we would get a tow wire out to the tug offshore that day. I had asked a DEP employee to lay out an area of about… Read more »

The Mechanics of a Tank Barge Explosion

If there is a marine explosion, chances are Martin & Ottaway gets a call. An explosion investigation is hard work and requires a huge amount of data collection. It can be an exhausting and often confusing task. Today there are great tools to quickly build a model, but even with the best tools (drones, laser… Read more »

OHMSETT, A Hidden Technical Asset

Maritime is too easily defined as ships passing in the night, and most of our maritime lives we work to make sense of the darkness. Sometimes you know the ship is there, but since it does not appear to be a danger you don’t pay attention. In many ways that is poor form. There is… Read more »

The Jeep Stick; I’ll Take Accidental Perfection Any Day

This will be a longer story, but it tells how random timing, the passage of time, weird coincidences, sticking with what works, and a sense of fun, can result in overall near perfection. The story starts in 1995, and Martin & Ottaway had just moved from New York City to Red Bank. The move to… Read more »

New Carissa 20 years later.

  That’s me in the yellow foul weather gear. Twenty years ago I was standing on this beach. I was working as a Salvage Naval Architect for SMIT, and we had just connected the tow wire to the tug offshore. It was a crazy project that I think of very fondly. Undoubtedly it was the… Read more »

Guns Blazing; The War of 1812 and the Jersey Shore

In 2014 our friends at Navesink Maritime Heritage Association organized an event that commemorated New Jersey’s 350th anniversary. Martin & Ottaway and a number of maritime organizations quickly jumped in as event sponsors and their sponsorship allowed the replica vessel Onrust to visit the Navesink River where New Jersey was originally settled. This year Navesink… Read more »

SurfWEC to Develop Utility Level Wave Power

Martin & Ottaway has formed a new company, SurfWEC LLC, that will develop Wave Energy Converters (“WECs”) using patented features that are expected to increase energy recovery rates by an order of magnitude over legacy WEC systems. SurfWEC has broken through the barriers holding back wave energy recovery technologies from successfully and economically harnessing power… Read more »

The Big Maritime Things in 2018

So here we go, one more year astern, and what does the wake look like? It is a weird wake, but the possibilities also continue to be endless. Let’s call it a mixed bag, and therefore I provide these tidbits in no particular order. 1. Fuel Oil Contaminations Early this year there was a rash… Read more »

This Year’s Christmas Present

  I am a little late with this year’s Christmas present to our friends and clients. Last year it was a story, but this year I had a bit of a hard time trying to figure out a good present. I was hoping for some inspiration and nothing showed up before Christmas, but the day… Read more »

Season’s Greetings

While we are still trying to get our new office sorted out, our staff put together this truly gorgeous little Christmas tree. To put something so pretty together during a time of upheaval provides promise for the future. Best wishes to all for the holidays and 2019.  Martin & Ottaway  

Statistics, the Inspection Paradox and Customer Acceptance

  One of my favorite funky newsletters is the Maritime Advocate. It often has very useful information, but I really suspect I read it because of a clever bit of marketing. The end of the newsletter often has a bit of silliness, like a list of painful puns or a few bad jokes. While scrolling… Read more »

Sunday Morning, the Life of a Surveyor

At Martin & Ottaway, we all love being part of the maritime community, but maritime is 24 hours per day. Therefore a call may come in at any time. This time it was Sunday Morning, just while I was getting ready to survey a boat for my personal use. So I modified the schedule for… Read more »

Is It Possible to Argue about Taste?

  A long time ago I enjoyed a Car Talk episode where a listener asked Click and Clack what car he should buy for a cross country road trip. Click and Clack right away started making suggestions about late 1960’s or early 1970’s great American cruisers. Their argument was simple. Those cars are not expensive,… Read more »

Collision and Angle of Blow; Sticking with What Works

While cleaning out files and I came across a 2004 collision that my father, Henk van Hemmen, handled. In the file there was a copy of a survey report on a 1971 collision with an angle of blow determination. The 1972 report was forwarded to some of the members in the 2004 survey party to… Read more »

Grace in the Details Kills Bike Helmets

Design is complicated, but often we try to explain it in a quick catchy phrase. There is a saying: “The Devil is in the Details”. Mies van der Rohe is often credited with flipping the concept upside down by saying: “God is in the Details”. Regardless, it means that if you do not pay attention… Read more »

Sergio Marchionne, An Appreciation of a Leader

I have always had an odd fascination with Chrysler. The whole story is too long to get into, but it relates to my Mother first seeing value in Chrysler stock and timing the ups and downs like Paganini on a violin, and my days at Chrysler’s Highland Parks Tech Center working with Chrysler engineers on… Read more »

Happy Anniversary IMO, a Sterling Example of International Cooperation

I joined the industry in 1981 and, before that, remember playing with the tarballs on the Dutch Northsea beaches. Things don’t always get better, but as far as international shipping is concerned, boy, have things improved. A huge portion of the credit goes to all the hardworking mariners who notice things that are wrong, and then come together… Read more »

Hydrogen As The Ultimate Fuel, Part 2

We discussed hydrogen generation techniques in our 2014 guest blog by Matt Stern. Since that time, the world has continued its fascination with this element, and recent developments show some interesting progress. Intern Karley Hildin provides an update: One really interesting example is a project taking place in Orkney, an island chain in the Northern Isles… Read more »

David Del Corso Joins Martin & Ottaway

David Del Corso

  It is a pleasure to introduce David Del Corso as a member of the Martin & Ottaway consulting team. David is a 2015 US Merchant Marine Academy Marine Engineering graduate and, after stints as a ship’s engineer and design engineer, has joined Martin & Ottaway to reinforce the junior engineer echelon. Martin & Ottaway has survived… Read more »

MAY 2018 – Joint Society Meeting Notice – SNAME/IMarEST/ASNE/SMPE Hosted by ASNE

May Paper: Engineering Ethics Clashes and Crashes Presenter: Hendrik “Rik” van Hemmen, President of Martin & Ottaway, Inc. Both licensed engineers and SNAME members function under a code of ethics. While it may not occur often, just about every engineer will occasionally encounter ethics challenges and proper conduct under those challenges can mean the difference between… Read more »