Author: Rik van Hemmen

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 »

Leonard Pucci Joins Martin & Ottaway

Lenny Pucci

It is a pleasure to introduce Capt. Leonard Pucci as a member of the M&O consultant team. I have known Lenny for many years, and worked with him on quite a number of projects. Besides providing our standard basket of services (particularly in the Rhode Island area, where he will be based), Lenny’s area of… Read more »

An Ode to Freestanding Masts

A week or so ago, for a minute, Lenny Pucci and I were thinking about jointly owning a sailboat. That immediately raised the next question: Well, what kind of sailboat? I did not hesitate, and immediately suggested a Freedom 44. To me it is one of the most useful sailboats out there. Fortunately, our boat… Read more »

Books That Messed with My Head (2018 Update)

Note: I posed a question at the bottom of the original blog and in August 2016 added two book to the bottom of the list in response. In 2018 added two more books. Books are fun, but very occasionally I have encountered books that have actually changed my understanding of humanity and the world. Only a very small number… Read more »

The Path to the Middle Class Runs Through the Port Of NY/NJ

I am not sure if I have ever expounded on my theory on the path to the middle class in the M&O blog. The theory is simple: Only maritime provides a reliable path to the middle class for those who seek it. There are very good technical and economical reasons for that assertion, which I may make… Read more »

Not Garbage In, But Still Garbage Out

The collapse of the Florida International University pedestrian bridge will undoubtedly result in some serious soul searching by the engineering community. In looking at it from the outside, my first gut instinct tells me that there was an error in the structural analysis of this rather pretty, but really quite complex structure, while it was only… Read more »

The Bigger Idea Behind Street Survival

As American parents, my wife and I went through the usual terrors of teaching the offspring to drive. Once we were reasonably sure our youngest could drive on her own, she asked us if we would pay for her Street Survival class. We had never heard of this program, and this is a shame, because it… Read more »

Whack the Whac-A-Mole Safety Approach

Capt. Terry Ogg published a thoughtful article on safety culture and training on Linkedin. The title is “Why it’s time to deep-six our current safety culture,” but within the article he provides an even better meme: The Whac-a-Mole Safety Game. The meme explains the tendency to simply hit at every possible human error that occurs and… Read more »

In Praise of Simulators; A Simple Example

By traditional training I am not a Naval Architect. I actually studied to become an Aerospace and Ocean engineer. My education at Virginia Tech as an Aerospace and Ocean engineer was nothing more than a lucky coincidence, since it allowed me to indulge my youthful passions of sailing, flight and space. Over the years I ended… Read more »

Baby It’s Cold Out There

Maybe I am getting old, or maybe I am getting less stupid. But looking out of the aft cabin hatch for a quick run from Slaughter Beach to a ship at Big Stone Anchorage, I did worry a little about the ice building up on deck. I started thinking, “Am I nuts? Are we all nuts… Read more »

The Big Maritime Things In 2017

I have been making these lists since 2012, and so I feel compelled to add another one this year. Maybe I have not been paying attention as closely as usual, but somehow I did not see as many milestones as prior years. This should not be interpreted as gloom and doom. I just think that… Read more »

The King and His Consultant; A Fairy Tale

I wrote this story many years ago, back when .PDF readers were still very confusing to use and cell phone systems were analog. It deals with what, today, I call “hyperventilation control,” a timely subject, I would say. I hope our clients, colleagues, associates, friends, and family will enjoy it as a heartfelt Martin & Ottaway holiday present. Happy… Read more »

Thank You, Union Drydock

A few weeks ago we surveyed the No.4 Union Drydock for purchase by Bayonne Drydock. The deal was consummated, and now the No. 4 drydock is in Bayonne. By now most of Union Drydock in Hoboken has been liquidated. We are sorry to see this 100 year old company go, but, on the positive side,… Read more »

A New Approach for Determining Optimal Fleet Procurement

I try to attend the SNAME annual meetings every year. Mustering the energy to attend can be daunting, but once I am there, I realize that there are so many benefits to attending the annual meeting that the cost and time are well worth it. At every meeting I try to attend as many technical paper presentations… Read more »

Patenting and Copyrighting Great Ideas

My wife posted this picture on my Facebook page. I copy it here because the picture made me think, and that led me right into a patent and copyright approach that I have been toying with for a number of years. First of all, I could not figure out where the picture came from (who owns it), but… Read more »

Surveying Tools

In a recent blog, I discussed laser scanning as a surveying tool. That made me think of all the tools that surveyors carry in their proverbial tool bag today. Surveying equipment used to be pretty simple when Francis A. Martin did his thing in 1875. We still use Francis A. Martin’s stuff, although often in… Read more »

Surveying Techniques, Laser Scanning

When I joined Martin & Ottaway, Harry Ottaway told me that Francis Martin used a horse and carriage to be dropped off at the various surveys. Roy Kanapaux, a surveyor that still worked with Martin & Ottaway in the early eighties (at age 80!) and whom I met when I visited my father at the… Read more »

Can Environmental Compliance Be Cost Effective?

During our MAX1 study effort we focused on optimal environmental operational practices, but after we issued our MAX1 final report, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation asked us to perform a follow-up study that focused more tightly on operating costs. In the initial effort we avoided this task, because we felt that it would be near impossible… Read more »

New Jersey Solar Math

This is a somewhat longer blog, but anybody who has spend more than a second thinking about installing roof top solar should read this story. It provides real life details about how to fit and finance residential roof top solar in NJ. I am a card carrying solar energy nut, but never thought that acquiring roof… Read more »

Brilliant Black

My friend Danny had to take his Black Jack wooden inboard Jersey sea skiff to the Sea Bright NJ Marine Police Barracks to get it titled. David’s Diesel Jeep Cherokee lease was almost up and it had not yet towed anything of substance. Furthermore, it was a nice day, which made it unfair for my dog Harris to… Read more »

It Is The CO2, Stupid!

Concern over global warming is valid. Global warming almost certainly will result in instabilities that, at best, will be less than convenient, and, at worst, devastating. However, as an engineer, I am frustrated that we tend to confuse causes, effects and solutions of global warming. Causes, effect and solutions are all related and rationally engaging those… Read more »

Ballast Water Treatment, OWS Redux?

With the first few fully certified Ballast Water Treatment systems now on the market, shipowners are slowly drifting into the purchase phase of compliance. In the near future, a mechanical Ballast Water Treatment system will now need to be retrofitted on all large ships and ship’s crew will have a new piece of equipment that… Read more »

Jim’s 75th Birthday Lunch at Juanito’s

Everybody was in town and so we got a chance to properly celebrate Jim’s 75th birthday. Mariner for over 55 years Married to Paula over 50 years Martin and Ottaway for 24 years Way to go!

Capsize Complexities (Let’s Be Careful Out There)

Martin & Ottaway has been involved in dozens of capsize investigations. Capsizes are strange events because the cause of a capsize can be difficult to determine. There may be clear incidents of negligence with regard to capsizes, but, in our experience, about half of the world’s capsizes strike like lightning on a clear day, and are totally… Read more »

The Transition From Artist Rendering to 3D CAD Rendering

Update: My former boss, Johan Valentijn, transferred a ton of drawings to me, and in one of the tubes I found a few Ed Bullerjahn concept renderings complete with martinis and tulip chairs. They are now on the bottom of this blog. Enjoy!  I was cleaning out a file cabinet, and came across a pile… Read more »

The Delightful Frustration of Cruise Ship Power Plant Design

Last year I was contacted by the Philadelphia Section papers chairman of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, who asked if I could make a presentation at a joint ASME, SNAME, SAME section meeting in Philadelphia on January 24, 2017. I told him that, in principle, I would love to do that, but wondered what subject… Read more »

TBT, County of Edinburgh Stranding

Point Pleasant Beach is a few miles south along the New Jersey shore from our office, which is where, on February 12, 1900, the County of Edinburgh ran aground. The vessel had very little damage, but then, as now, the stranding quickly became a tourist attraction. Merritt-Chapman refloated her on February 25, 1900 and she was repaired and… Read more »

The Big Maritime Things In 2016

Last year I started this list with lots of space flight issues, but when I made my list this year I started with aircraft technology, and then immediately shifted to maritime in item 2. It has been a strange year and that is why I ended my list with a repeat and enlargement of item 8… Read more »

A Holiday Gift

Holiday presents are always difficult to choose. I suppose a present is a two way street; it should delight the gift giver and the gift receiver equally. To find something that fits that bill is always a challenge. Then to choose a Holiday present that suits everybody and that can be delivered over the internet is even… Read more »

Pumpkin Boats, A New Business Opportunity for Naval Architects?

Halloween is quite an important commercial event in the United States (Annual US Halloween sales amount to US$8.4B, about the entire NASA manned space budget), but the maritime community has had a hard time breaking into this industry (The pirate costume licensing fee thing never worked out). Still, that does not mean there are no opportunities. Possibly the best business opportunity… Read more »

Good News About Sustainable Energy

When we talk about efficiencies it often becomes difficult to figure out who benefits from the efficiency. Airlines may be as efficient as they can be (spend the least amount on wages and fuel per passenger moved) but that does not mean that airline travel is efficient for the passengers. They may stand in long… Read more »