SURVEYOR'S NOTEBOOK

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 »

Day Of The Seafarer June 25, 2013

This year’s theme for Day of the Seafarer is Faces of the Sea. It is a natural evolution from last yearʼs successful theme of ʻIt came by sea and I canʼt live without itʼ. Fundamentally it moves the theme to bringing the campaign back to the unsung heroes of shipping – the seafarers themselves and… Read more »

Costa Concordia and QESTH

A while ago Wayne Thomas forwarded the “Costa Concordia Report on the Safety Technical Investigation” to everybody in the office and only just now did I have a chance to read it. While the report is not dated or specifically identified as “final” it appears this is an English language version of the last word… Read more »

George F. Chandler III (1940-2013) In Memoriam

On Thursday May 23, 2013, the firm and I lost a close friend, and the maritime community lost a distinguished professional with the passing of George Chandler. George Chandler was an admiralty attorney with Hill Rivkins in New York and Houston, but George’s connection with Martin & Ottaway and its people go back to 1976,… Read more »

What Is The Cost Of Efficient Transportation? (Maxi Taxi 5)

Not too long ago only a small proportion of humanity had access to vast resources (which actually equates to access to energy). Although the very rich could travel by ocean liner between continents, poorer people’s action radii were very much smaller. For most of humanity’s existence a human might be tied to a very small… Read more »

How Safe Is Automated Driving? (Maxi Taxi 4)

Automated driving is central to the Maxi Taxi concept. Although the Maxi Taxi ferry concept does not specifically require full automated driving, the ferry concept, at a minimum, will use automated parking type technology to load and unload the ferries automatically with human drivers on public roads. However, the Maxi Taxi concept will really come into… Read more »

Why Not Supply Purified ISO Heavy Fuel to Ships?

(Updated 31 November 2016) M&O loves training new consultants. We look for people who are smart, with great basic training and, most of all, people who are inherently inquisitive and will ask the questions that lead to new knowledge for all of us. So, we are in the middle of dealing with a heavy fuel… Read more »

The Really Big Picture

The April issue of (mt), the SNAME house magazine, will feature an article by Dr. Wayne Neu, professor of Aerospace and Ocean Engineering at Virginia Tech. Dr. Neu updated the classic 1950’s Gabrielli – von Karman plot using more recent vehicle data collected by the students in one of his classes. The Gabrielli – von… Read more »

The Greatest Show On Earth

Boat shows tend to depress me. It is important to stay up with the latest trends, but most boat shows focus so heavily on consumer products that it is difficult to extract real joy from them. My friend and fellow boat lover Captain Dannie Schade, owner of Classic Boat Rides, convinced me and our wives… Read more »

What Needs To Be Standardized? (Maxi Taxi 2)

In the Maxi Taxi 1 blog we introduced the Maxi Taxi concept as a thought experiment to explore how people transportation can be made to be more efficient by whole system design. The Maxi Taxi is a passenger transportation concept that, through standardization, aims to rapidly increase system efficiencies. System efficiencies are different from component… Read more »

Disaster? DO The OODA Loop

A disaster like the Costa Concordia opens a wide variety of investigations and undoubtedly many people are very busy in analyzing what caused the vessel to strike the reef and to capsize, but striking reefs and capsizing actually is nothing new and, on a technical level, actually is pretty well understood. What is much more… Read more »

So How Are Those Sandy Claims Working Out?

The damages caused by Super Storm Sandy have resulted in a heavy load of assignments from underwriters with regard to damages to marinas, boats and associated infrastructure. It has been a pleasure working with our underwriter clients who all have been very eager in resolving often very complex damage issues as rapidly as possible and… Read more »

Holiday Art

During the new year season we receive good wishes from people all over the world and all the cards we receive we display around the office for a few weeks to get us in the holiday spirit, and to reminds us of all our friends around the world. Many are quite pretty and inspired. This year… Read more »

Sandy Meets Sandy Hook

This rather ominous picture was taken two hours before high tide on October 29, 2012 at the Monmouth Boat Club in our headquarters town of Red Bank, New Jersey. The center of Sandy is still about 10 hours away. The river is the Navesink River and it is an estuary that enters New York Harbor at… Read more »

From HQSE To QESTH. Maybe A Change For The Better.

We all like to kid about acronym soup, and it is pretty difficult to keep up with all the new ones. I remember that as a young engineer I was always hesitant to ask in public, because I was afraid that asking the question would prove my ignorance. Somewhere in my career I crossed that… Read more »

A Better Way To Manage Fisheries

Fisheries management is an excruciatingly complex subject. The management (or mismanagement)  of fisheries can very rapidly affect the viability of the industry and has all sorts of carry on effects. Martin & Ottaway sees these effects in fishing boat accident investigations and fishing boat valuations. For example, a fishing boat value is not just tied… Read more »

Greenland Salvage: A Reef, A Container Vessel and Rogue Icebergs

By: Chris Law On August 16, 2012 Martin & Ottaway received a call from SMIT Salvage Americas requesting standby naval architecture assistance for a vessel grounding in Venezuela. Within the hour, there was a possibility of travel instead to Chile for a second grounding and within a further 30 minutes, a third vessel was reported… Read more »

Women and Children First, Part Two

Our first blog on “Women and Children First” elicited a fair amount of comment on various discussion sites. A major part of the discussion centered on the Birkenhead disaster. The Birkenhead disaster is considered to be the first application, or even the invention, of the “Women and Children First” concept. Wikipedia provides a fair amount… Read more »

Seastreak Wall Street Efficiency

The title of this story has a purpose. On an ironic level, web search engines may regard it as a rare combination of terms (Wall Street and Efficiency). But, actually, it is a story about the maritime industry’s efforts to fight for real efficiencies. Seastreak is the ferry service between our part of New Jersey and New… Read more »

Woman and Children First?

Mikael Elinder and Oscar Erixson of Uppsala University recently performed an interesting analysis of survival rates in a large number of major ship disasters ranging over a period of over 150 years. They were interested in determining whether the old adage “Woman and Children First” actually occurred in such disasters. While many of their conclusions… Read more »

The SS United States – A Spectacular Monument Waiting To Happen

By: Chris Law Arriving for a recent vessel survey in Philadelphia, PA with my colleague Wayne Thomas, we found ourselves pulling up to a pier alongside the laid-up SS United States. After completing the survey, we had the chance to walk the pier and admire this imposing vessel, capturing this image. For a vessel with such rich heritage, still retaining the… Read more »

Let The Sun Shine On The Delaware

M&O covers quite a range of waterfronts. Some we only visit occasionally (for example, Bahia Blanca, Argentina we visit no more than about once a decade) but others we visit on an almost daily basis. The Delaware River ports are home turf for us, but every now and then we need to check the internet… Read more »

The End Of The Exxon Valdez

A recent bit in the news announced that the “Exxon Valdez” in its present incarnation as the “Oriental Nicety” is bound for the scrap yard. It is easy to think of the “Exxon Valdez” as some villainous symbol in the drama of the oil spill in Alaska, but, as Paul Harvey used to say, then… Read more »

New York City Circa 1904

Next month Martin & Ottaway will be honored by the Society of Marine Port Engineers at their annual dinner dance. In preparation for an article chronicling the history of the firm, which will appear in the dinner program journal, some interesting historical documents and photographs were discovered while examining our old records. A few of… Read more »