SURVEYOR'S NOTEBOOK

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 »

M.Y. “SEA CLOUD” / “PATRIA”

Recently we were contacted by the son of a past client of Martin & Ottaway from the 1960’s and 1970’s. Our client, Clifford Barbour, along with William Ottaway and others were all involved in the sale of the “Patria” in 1966 from the Dominican Republic, and her subsequent renovation and reconditioning and renaming as the “Antarna.”… Read more »

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 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 »

A Future Fuel Option that Nobody Is Talking About

By: Kyle Antonini There has been much ado about the transition to alternative forms of fuel in the maritime industry as emissions standards become more stringent, climate change due to greenhouse gases becomes more real, and current “clean” options become more expensive. Since the industry is huge and financially conservative, it is difficult to see… 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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

MAX1 Conference In Wilmington, NC; A First In Shipboard Waste Management

The MAX1 conference, which took place in Wilmington, NC on June 24, 2015, set a new standard in Shipboard Waste Management studies. The conference was a rapid fire exchange of ideas by 30 industry professionals representing almost all stakehlders involved in shipboard waste management. For too long OWS and Shipboard Waste Management has been a… Read more »

Solving the Really Difficult OWS and Police Brutality Problems

In engineering there are the difficult problems and the really difficult problems. Getting to the moon or designing a safe replica schooner is difficult. The really difficult engineering problems often require that the user also needs to be re-engineered. Such problems may involve removing addiction or stopping irrational behavior or reducing poverty or altering preconceived… Read more »

Feedback: Here’s Your Sign.

Life is complicated, and designing to deal with life’s complications is difficult. Unfortunately bad design unnecessarily punishes humanity by increasing inefficiencies and frustrations. Design mistakes get made, and sometimes the mistakes cannot be easily corrected. However, it is difficult to imagine anything more destructive to humanity than bad design that affects many people that can… Read more »