SURVEYOR'S NOTEBOOK

48 Hours On The Lettie G. Howard

Maritime education is an incredibly powerful educational tool. While it does not necessarily have to be a path to maritime employment, it is always an effective path to provide Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, Philosophy, History, Language and Arts (STEMPHLA) education. The Lettie G. Howard project has a straightforward focus: Provide students with a tool to… Read more »

M&O Jeep Fleet

In 1994, M&O leased the then new Jeep Grand Cherokee, with miles per gallon in the 17 mile range. Twenty years later M&O has returned to the Jeep brand with the leasing of the new “Eco Diesel” Jeep Grand Cherokee, which can get some 33 miles per gallon on the highway. Stephanie Khadam-Hir of the… Read more »

Meeting In The North Atlantic (TBT)

In 1954, my great-grandfather, Hendrik Fokko van Hemmen, was Chief Engineer on the M/V Prins Frederik Hendrik of the Oranje Lijn, and my grandfather, Henk van Hemmen, was deck engineer on the Dutch flagship, the SS Nieuw Amsterdam. On November 1, my grandfather was asked to make a repair to the steam whistle valve which… Read more »

Dungeon Art (TBT)

Our office has a real dungeon where we keep our unused art, our extra gear, our historical records and our completed files. Inevitably we need to clean out the dungeon when we no longer have space for the completed files and that means we literally get rid of dumpster loads of reports, depositions, shipping documents,… Read more »

N.S. Savannah

M&O took a picture of the N.S. Savannah while at an adjacent pier in Canton Marine Terminal, Baltimore on a recent survey: N.S. Savannah is the first nuclear-powered merchant ship ever built (the Soviet ice-breaker N.S. Lenin was the first nuclear-powered civil ship).  She was launched in 1959, and was built at a total cost… Read more »

Ten Real Shipping Books

The general public’s awareness of maritime continues to be elusive. People without exposure to maritime have a vague notion of what ships do, but the knowledge is almost always superficial. Maritime is complex and therefore it takes a large investment to become deeply familiar with the dynamics of maritime in all its facets. This made… Read more »

Hydrogen As The Ultimate Fuel (Maxi Taxi 10)

Our intern Matt Stern is guest blogging on some background research he did at our office on hydrogen fuel before he gets ready to start his junior year at the Bronx High School of Science: In modern times, we have become accustomed to using fossil fuels as our source of energy for road transportation. But,… Read more »

NYMAR Victory!

They said it couldn’t be done but Martin & Ottaway’s representatives had the pleasure of winning the 3rd race of the August 7th NYMAR J/24 racing series.  Congrats Captain Peter and crew!

Wood Technology Never Gets Old

Wood is a truly wonderful material, not just for its beauty, but also for its excellent engineering characteristics. While wood technology has been around for thousands of years for boat construction purposes, wood technology is still developing today. In August of 1999, Woodenboat magazine published an article on a novel type of wooden mast construction…. Read more »

SS Florida / SS Republic Collision (TBT)

A photo of the damaged SS Florida as a result of its collision with the SS Republic in 1909 hangs in our office. On the back is an article from an unknown source (I’m betting that one of our consultants decided to look up the story one day).  The story reads as follows: “Due to… Read more »

The SS Morro Castle (TBT)

Today’s Throwback Thursday is one of the most famous shipboard fires, and is especially well-known in our area because the vessel was beached for several months in Asbury Park, New Jersey, not far from our current headquarters.  While the SS Morro Castle disaster of 1934 tragically killed 137 passengers, it directly resulted in numerous shipboard fire… Read more »

Martin Ottaway RSA Grounded Bulk Carrier Refloating, Lake St. Clair, MI July 2014

In the early hours of July 27, 2014, a Donjon-SMIT NTVRP (Non-Tank Vessel Response Plan) vessel, a handysize bulk carrier, grounded in Lake St. Clair, near Detroit MI. In accordance with the vessel’s plan activation, the  SMFF resource provider Donjon-SMIT were contacted who immediately mobilized USCG Sector D09 (Lake Michigan) Martin Ottaway RSA Mr. Mike… Read more »

When Lloyd’s Registers Were Secret (TBT)

Since 1764, Lloyd’s Register has published annually what is basically the definitive list of ocean-going vessels in the world.  Our office – and many other maritime offices worldwide – use these “registers” regularly, since they contain valuable, authoritative information on ship size, carrying capacity, age, builder, and equipment, to name a few.  We keep our old… Read more »

Deep Culture

At Martin & Ottaway occasionaly we see all aspects of our culture come together in a single project. This photo pays witness to such an event. Consider: The Engineering Attitude: We can do this, we have the tools, and we sure don’t need to use the written instructions. Frugality: Why pay for chair assembly if… Read more »

Container Archeology

Last week I found myself in Skagway on a cruise ship stop and hopped a ride on the White Pass & Yukon railroad. This railroad was a vital connection between the Pacific and the Yukon River gold fields. It starts in Skagway, the most northeast corner of the Alaskan Inside Passage, goes through the White… Read more »

Rik van Hemmen, SNAME Member Of The Month

The Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers (SNAME) is the main engineering society for naval architects and marine engineers and most of Martin & Ottaway’s consultants are members. SNAME provides the technical resources and updates that are necessary for engineers to stay engaged with the latest developments in the industry. Professional engineering membership is… Read more »

Let’s Not Confuse Innovation and Disruption With Progress

I just read Jill Lepore’s excellent article about disruption and innovation. She very carefully tears apart some recent trendy thinking about innovation and pretty much concludes that one cannot predict where innovation or disruptive technologies will come from and that, inevitably, any innovation or disruptive technology will pretty much find itself in the buggy whip… Read more »

Lettie G. Howard, An Exercise In Educational Excellence.

Education in maritime is in a class by itself for too many reasons to count. Bottom line; maritime education works, and people are starting to take notice. The strength of maritime education lies in integration. Basically it allows students to engage in multiple learning experiences simultaneously. Instead of one hour of language, one hour of… Read more »

Historic Vessel Redux

Occasionally we draw attention to ships that are historically significant. Sometimes it seems like we are simply whistling into a storm. Ship preservation costs money and undoubtedly it is a difficult discussion to decide which vessels are worthy of preservation and which should be, at best, turned, into artificial reefs, but, overall, our country is… Read more »

USS Somerset, The Real Lesson of 9/11

On March 1, 2014 the USS Somerset (LPD-25) will be commissioned in Philadelphia. The Somerset is the third and final San Antonio Class vessel named after 9/11 locations. The other two vessels of the same class that preceded the USS Somerset are the USS New York and the USS Arlington.  The names of the earlier… Read more »

MARPOL Also Requires Shore Cooperation

I really enjoy Dennis Bryant’s Daily Newsletter, his format allows me to scan it very quickly and if a mental alarm goes off, he provides some additional info. The December 20, 2013 newsletter issue made mention of MARPOL reception facilities inadequacies. The write up referred to a USCG Houston Marine Safety Information Bulletin issued by COTP… Read more »

A Maritime Holiday Gift, 2013

From 1995 to 2010 our holiday newsletter always included a small sketch made by Henk van Hemmen. This year we decided to recapture those pictures we could find in our old files and republish them. Henk always drew these pictures with a thought towards those of us who are at sea or in foreign ports… Read more »

Solar Conestogas

Powering cars with solar cells installed on the car is an intriguing proposition, but unless we drive for very high efficiencies with resulting uncomfortable and impractical cars such as solar racers, it will probably not be possible to power cars with solar cells to the extent that we power cars with chemical fuels such as… Read more »

The Art Of Octoberfest

I finally made it to my first Motor Services Hugo Stamp Octoberfest (one of our very favorite diesel shops). This spectacular party has been a long standing annual tradition by MSHS at their beautiful facility in Fort Lauderdale and has been attended by many a Martin & Ottaway surveyor over the years. While it occurs… Read more »

Getting Lost Is No Big Deal. Not Knowing That You Are Lost Can Kill You

Accident analysis is a strange and complex task. Often blame is considered to be the motivator for an accident analysis, but the most interesting and useful purpose of an accident analysis is to tease the universally useful gems out of the huge pile of information that tends to get generated during an accident analysis. I… Read more »

Martin & Ottaway RSA Call Out: Long Beach, CA

By: Chris Law On August 28, 2013 a tanker was lying at anchor off the port of Long Beach, CA and experienced a breach of the shell plate above the waterline in way of the No. 6P water ballast tank following allision with another vessel. Donjon-SMIT is the nominated OPA-90 resource provider in the Vessel… Read more »

Are Five Foot Wide Maxi Taxi Roads The End Of Driving Fun?

Some people pondering five foot wide roads (or, at best, roads a little wider than 60 inches) populated with Maxi Taxis may think it would spell the end of driver excitement. Personally, having owned a Triumph Spitfire (57 inches wide) and always having coveted the original Mini Coopers  (55 inches wide), I doubt that is actually the… Read more »

Maybe This Is A Solution To The Maritime Language Problem

The weak English translation of the MIT Costa Concordia report made me wonder about the use of English as a more universal communication system. While driving to a project, I was listening to National Public Radio, and there was a bit about Voice of America broadcasts. I never realized that Voice of America programs cannot… Read more »