Author: Rik van Hemmen

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 »

Rattling the Cage of Preconceived Notions in Design

It is always important to ask “why” about every detail in every design, since bad design imposes a penalty on every user for the life of the bad design. Bad design can hang around forever even if good design exists. I often ask “why?” when I am forced to use a badly designed cleat on a boat… Read more »

Project 114, Research Vessel Optimization

This is a Guest Blog by our U. Mich summer intern Sam Edwards. I was handed off progress on Project 114 by a previous intern in the office. He had added in a feature to plot the sections of files that were input to the “Hydro2A” calc engine as well as started the design of… Read more »

How to Measure Solar Impulse Success?

In March of 2015 Solar Impulse started its around the world adventure and today it brought the adventure to completion; an around the world flight entirely on solar power. As I noted in an earlier blog this is a first order achievement that has only occurred a few times in human history. Still it is difficult… Read more »

Thoughts on Convoying Fuel Efficiencies

The Maxi Taxi concept describes the advantages of convoying in saving fuel during highway travel. Cars that closely follow each other can achieve impressive reductions in total air drag. Air drag is the leading overall drag component at higher speeds and therefore represents the lion’s share of a car’s fuel consumption at speed. Air drag… Read more »

Project 114 and Student Use.

Project 114 is an innovative approach to engineering computations that is being developed for SNAME by Steve Hollister. In essence, it will be a suit of basic NAME computer programs that run on an Excel input/output backbone. This approach is quite powerful and runs a careful middle ground between large, canned, NAME program suites and home grown NAME computer… Read more »

Join The Martin & Ottaway Team

Wanted: Licensed graduate Marine Engineer or graduate Naval Architect (0-5 years experience) for junior consultant position at Martin & Ottaway headquarters in Red Bank, NJ. Varied work, long and random hours, excellent opportunity for rapid professional growth. Desire to learn and to interact with a wide variety of clients, projects and maritime settings. Awareness that… Read more »

Will Robot Ships Be Trading By 2020?

An April 12 article in the Maritime Executive reports on a Rolls Royce statement that robot ships will be trading by 2020. Apparently, through the Rolls-Royce led Advanced Autonomous Waterborne Applications Initiative (AAWA), researchers suggested that engineering hurdles would not be a major obstacle. There is no doubt that if engineering hurdles refer to hardware,… Read more »

In Memoriam Gene Ferrari

On Friday April 8, 2016 we lost our dear friend Gino Ferrari. Gino was an icon in the New York maritime industry and a person who both maintained the highest standards and at the same time always looked for ways to make life just a little better and a little more fun for everybody in… Read more »

Old Time Model Testing

When I wrote the blog on SWATHs I decided to see if I could locate my Virginia Tech research partner, Mark Tesh. With LinkedIn this was not all that difficult. He enjoyed hearing about the Monoform all these years ago, and remembered having taken photos back in 1981. In those days cameras and video tape actually did exist, but it… Read more »

SWATH, The Art Of Compromise

M&O has worked on both the implementation and the failure analysis on quite a number of SWATH (Small Waterplane Area Twin Hull) projects in the last decades. SWATH vessels hold great promise and continue to intrigue naval architects and potential ship purchasers. When we first became involved in SWATHs, as far back as 1981 with… Read more »

What M*A*S*H Taught Me About Memory

I am almost certain that I learned more from popular culture than the classics (whatever the classics may be). For example, the TV series M*A*S*H provided me with two philosophical bits that I still recycle on a regular basis. The first warns me to never drink when I need a drink, and the other restricts… Read more »

The Big Maritime Things In 2015

My list of big maritime things for the year may not look much like maritime at first, but, believe me, it is. To begin with, spaceflight’s closest real life cousin is nuclear submarine operations. Next, maritime is synonymous with international cooperation and, last, all technologies interbreed, whether up or down. Nothing is more difficult to… Read more »

The Search For Oil Spill Data

The September 2014 issue of the US Navy Institute Proceedings had a one page article named “The Biggest Oil-Spill Culprit? Mother Nature”. This article indicates that the sources of oil pollution in the ocean can be divided as follows: Air pollution 4.2% Run off 11% Transportation Accidental Spills 9.8% (Marine) Transportation normal operation 24.1% (Marine… Read more »

An Unexpected Christmas Present

Over the years I try to write a blog around Christmas time that deals with the spirit of Christmas. I have posted poems, art and stories, but this year a pass-it-forward present was dropped right into my lap. On an anomalously warm December morning, I sat down at my desk, turned on my computer and… Read more »

Root Cause, Causal Factors, Proximate Causes Or Contributing Causes

Causal analysis is a surprisingly complex process that over the years has been subject to push and pulls from a wide variety of professional influences. When determining the actual cause of an accident or an incident, any number of stake holders would like to address the issue that “caused” the accident, whether to prevent a… Read more »

Devastating Ignorance and Plastic Island Delusions

In a prior blog I commented on ignorance and how easy it is to jump to incorrect solutions. In that blog I made reference to Boyan Slat and his Ted Talk as an example of an incredibly awful Ted lecture. In his lecture Boyan Slat proposes a method for removing plastic trash from oceans. The lecture is… Read more »

Houston! We Have A Nomenclature Problem

A recent Wall Street Journal article named The Myth of Basic Science by Matt Ridley makes a fascinating argument that government spending on basic science does not result in technical innovation. The article argues that, instead, most innovation results from tinkering, and only after the tinkering results in new technology, will science catch up to… Read more »

Are We Sure Marine Escape Chutes Work?

Ships, cars and airplanes are all quite reliable, but since they move and occassionally behave in unexpected ways, it is necessary to provide emergency systems to protect passengers or crew, or allow passengers and crew to escape. There are many such systems like seatbelts, air bags, escape slides, life rafts and life boats. The design… Read more »

A Loadout Cautionary Note

As noted in an earlier blog, we love loadouts, they are a uniquely satisfying engineering exercise and often bring out the best in all participants. Loadouts are complex projects that need to be designed and guided by experienced personnel, but even the highest level of experience cannot always prevent a mishap. For a number of… Read more »

How Not To Be Ignorant About The World

Ignorance is very pervasive and fighting ignorant behavior can be very exhausting. Jonathan Swift is believed to have said that you cannot reason someone out of something they were not first reasoned into. If that statement is true, and it certainly contains a lot of truth as far as I can see, it means that… Read more »

TBT, Worst Dutch Real Estate Deal Ever

Except for the passenger ship terminal above 42nd street, commercial ship operations in Manhattan have pretty much come to an end. One of the last commercial shipping terminals to be built on Manhattan was Marine and Aviation Pier 40. It was built in 1962 at a cost of $18 million expressly for the use of… Read more »

A Cathedral Of Internal Combustion

As surveyors we rush around the world on short notice, arrive at some distant port and then are asked to look at a damage situation or some technical or operational problem. We crawl into tight and dirty spaces and end op taken pictures or measurements of broken components. Often we rush back to catch the… Read more »

What’s So Funny About ORB’s?

During the MAX1 conference Captain Tim Sullivan of Hornbeck Offshore sprung a surprise on us. His presentation dealt with Hornbeck’s very impressive efforts at improving MARPOL compliance and then towards the end of the presentation he mentioned that they needed to simplify their Oil Record Book guidance and therefore had handed all their stuff to a… Read more »

MAX1: Do People or Equipment Cause Ocean Pollution?

In the MAX1 study survey we included a few questions where we asked crews to tell us what their favorite Oily Water Separator brands are. We were very hesitant to include that question because there could be all types of weird bias and we would need a huge sample to makes sense of data where… Read more »

Diversity and Persistence: 5000 Projects Since 1995

Today, August 11, 2015, was a landmark day for Martin & Ottaway. Traditionally M&O used a report numbering system. Once a report was issued, it was provided with a sequential report number, but when I joined the firm in 1988, keeping track of projects by ship’s names until the report was issued became an unmanageable… Read more »

James van Langen Joins Martin & Ottaway

With great pleasure Martin & Ottaway announces that Jim van Langen has joined the firm as an engineering and management consultant. Mr. van Langen’s deep experience in the cruise industry and with maritime and shore based Quality, Environmental, Safety, Training and Health (QESTH) systems is an outstanding complement to Martin & Ottaway’s consulting activities. Mr…. Read more »

A Forensic Engineer’s Short Course in Flawed Analysis, Or A Norden Bombsight Insight

This story will makes two important points about technical reasoning that in the heat of combat, disasters, disputes, commerce, parenting or politics often get overlooked. They are: 1.If your starting data is flawed, the rest of your argument becomes inherently flawed 2.Just because one thing looks like the other, it does not mean that they are comparable. The… Read more »