Category: Year

The Big Maritime Things in 2023

The year is almost over, and I took some time to ponder the last 12 months. Such pondering demands perspective and I decided to check out my 2013 Big Maritime List. Overall, that provided no shocking insights or misjudgments, but some of it is folded into the first three items of this year’s list. Maritime… Read more »

Svelte Speed; SC-1 Subchaser upgrade

Hudson River Maritime Museum has a great blog that regularly puts out interesting Hudson River historical tidbits. One of those blogs had a story about World War I subchasers.   It provided some drawings for the vessel, but Wikipedia provided an even more complete drawing with a lines plan.   They have the following particulars:… Read more »

Dutch Boating in 1964

My grandfather was planning to retire as a ship’s Chief Engineer in 1964. He and his wife had mused about getting a boat to cruise the Dutch waterways. That vision was adopted by the extended family and resulted in this design. As a yacht designer I have occasionally shot myself in the foot by telling… Read more »

The Big Maritime Things in 2022

2022 is almost over and it is time to do some navel staring. 1. How Big Can a Small Mistake Be? Putin deciding to invade Ukraine will probably go down in history as the world’s biggest boner by a single individual. Since Putin is still in power, we should not ignore the possibility he might… Read more »

The Big Maritime Things in 2021

Another trip around the Sun, and a few moments to ponder it. This is my take for 2021. 1. Lack of Cooperation and Discipline I try to be diplomatic in my public pronouncements, but I will go full Dutch Uncle here. Our misery in 2021 was completely related to decisions by individuals who somehow have… Read more »

Separating Rotzooi from Technical Reality

  Note: The Waterpomptang family is fictitious and occasionally a Waterpomptang story appears on the M&O website. Some say their adventures resemble real events, but that is just a coincidence.   Bolle was comfortably seated in one of the creaky white oak surplus Liberty ship chairs in Willem’s office above the BuyLo Packy in Red… Read more »

Henk van Hemmen the Elder’s encounter with WWII

In the prior blog I discussed my grandfather’s favorite ship, the HEDEL. I got on the subject because of a weblink my Uncle Ed emailed me. The weblink my Uncle sent me actually referred to the JONGE WILLEM, a ship my grandfather sailed on immediately prior to World War II. During the depression he was… Read more »

Henk van Hemmen the Elder’s Hedel (TBT)

My Grandfather, Henk van Hemmen’s favorite ship was the HEDEL. She was built as AGIRA to LR class for the Norddeutscher Lloyd at AG Weser in 1930. During World War II she was named the SPREE and in 1944 she struck a mine. She was heavily damaged, but accepted as a reparation from Germany by… Read more »

The Big Maritime Things in 2020

I ended my 2019 annual review with an admonition not to work like a robot or you will be replaced by one quickly. The comment was intended to warn engineers to be innovative or they will be replaced by robots. Now, at the end of 2020, I have a whole new vision of the effect… Read more »

Alla Tsiring on Throw Back Thursday

Alla Tsiring’s adventures did not start when she joined Martin & Ottaway in 1994 as our book keeper. Her adventures started in Russia and included her escape with her husband Lenny during a period of Glasnost with intermediate stops at all sorts of interesting places. However, she had never gone on a ship survey during… Read more »

USCG Day and History

USCG Historical Logo

Co-Authored by:  David Del Corso, Jim Kline, and Tomer Chen  Today marks the 230th anniversary of the establishment of the Revenue Cutter Service. Established in 1790, under the direction of the Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton, their mission was to enforce the tariff laws at U.S. seaports enacted by Congress under the newly signed… Read more »

Introducing James “Jim” Kline

While Martin & Ottaway has always worked very closely with the United States Coast Guard, we have never had a Martin & Ottaway consultant with a United States Coast Guard background. There was never a specific reason for that, except to note that possibly the right mutual opportunity never presented itself. However, today,  it gives… Read more »

Death by Ship Value

Martin & Ottaway has been performing ship values since its formation in 1875. Our records go back to the late 1800’s and we have hung onto our historic records through all our office moves. A lot of our actual project work has now been digitized which is a huge space saver, but other paper records… Read more »

The Big Maritime Thing(s) in 2019

I actually enjoy taking stock of a past year in its last few days. The office tends to be quiet and a few moments of introspection can be interesting. This year I did not have any real innovations or significant developments in mind as far as 2019 milestones are concerned. I wondered if 2019 was… Read more »

Liberty Meats

By a weird coincidence my sister, Annemarie, came across this story that my father,  Henk van Hemmen, wrote on Veteran’s Day in 2004. “Liberty” Meats Looking into the history of warfare and battle ground victories it is a well-known fact that in general terms, the army that is well-fitted out and well-fed will have a tremendous… 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 »

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 »

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  

Replacing Fossil Fuels with Ocean Wave Power

Wave energy converter (WEC) systems have not yet made it to the stage of development of wind and solar renewable power systems, but wind-generated waves are a concentrated form of wind power covering over 70% of Earth and present a fascinating opportunity for the future of sustainable energy and power systems. Figure 1. Point-Absorber Configuration of… 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 »

Tales From A “Hard Hat” Diver

While diving in an undisclosed location in the Fall of 1990, I experienced my first visceral encounter with exponential decay and exponential increase in wave energy as a function of depth. The gear I was wearing on my back was: US Divers/Conshelf XIV First and Second stage SCUBA regulators connected to a US Divers twin… Read more »

Nieuw Amsterdam

Recently Martin & Ottaway had a job on the 2010 Nieuw Amsterdam IV. Martin & Ottaway personnel have been involved with Nieuw Amsterdams’ since 1937. Henk van Hemmen sailed as an engineer on board the 1937 Nieuw Amsterdam II. We also carried out various projects on the 1983 Nieuw Amsterdam III to include mechanical and… 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 »

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 »

A New Direction – Using the M&O Vessel Appraisal resources

Martin Ottaway has been providing vessel appraisal services to various clients in not only the Maritime Industry but also to Financial Institutions, Investment Groups, Governments, Insurance companies and many others for well over a century. Our in-house vessel appraisal data and resources date back to the late eighteen hundreds with the older data being maintained… Read more »

85th National Maritime Day

On May 22, we celebrated National Maritime Day. Every year is filled with days and celebrations ascribed to any number of questionable “holidays” often meant to commemorate or spread awareness. For instance, I could find at least 8 other celebrations on May 22, including National Vanilla Pudding Day and Accounting Day. In light of so… 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!

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

Beautiful Day For A Boat Christening

Welcome M/V “Molly Pitcher”, the newest addition to NY Waterway’s fleet. Alan Colletti from our office provided new vessel construction oversight services while the vessel was built at Yank Marine.  Here’s Arthur Imperatore during the boat’s christening, thanking Al for being such a worrier!

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 »

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 »

M&O Staff Circa 1992 (TBT)

For this week’s Throwback Thursday, check out the Martin & Ottaway engineering staff circa 1992.  Four of these ten guys are still around – can you identify them?

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 »

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 »

Vessel Face-Lift

Bayonne Dry Dock & Repair Corp April 7, 2015

AD 1522 to 2015, A Really Big Step for Mankind

In 1522 a sailing vessel, named the Victoria, arrived in Spain and thereby completed the first circumnavigation of Earth using only sustainable power (wind). This voyage is generally called Magellan’s voyage, but the person who completed the voyage in command was Juan Sebastian Elcano.   Since that time, humans have circumnavigated Earth in any number… Read more »

Baby It Is Cold Outside, So Be Careful

Cold weather actually makes us busier. Cold weather makes people seek shelter so they pay less attention and cold weather makes equipment operate and fail in unusual fashion. It has been cold out (we almost had iceboat conditions on the river) so there is no time to ruminate any further. Instead I will post a few… Read more »

The Big Maritime Things In 2014

So here, at the end of the year, I have spent a few moments pondering the maritime events that affected my life. As usual, this is a personal list, but checking back against prior lists I am surprised that this list making can be very unpredictable. It almost seems that these annual lists carry a… Read more »

SS Sea Witch & SS Esso Brussels (TBT)

Harry Ottaway, past President of Martin & Ottaway, getting his balance on the SS SEA WITCH in drydock (stern section), August 2, 1979. The SS SEA WITCH was a container ship which lost steering control while leaving New York harbor and collided with the fully loaded tanker SS ESSO BRUSSELS on the night of May… Read more »

Invention: Vinyl Plus Memory Stick; You Saw It Here First

Inventions are often difficult to track, but they often start with a loose comment. Hannah came into my office and asked for my portable CD drive. Not too long ago CD drives were built into computers, but USB memory sticks are rapidly rendering CD’s old hat. Out loud Hannah wondered: “How long do you think… Read more »

Salvage Of The SS Normandie (TBT)

Watch a cool video produced in the 1940’s by the US Navy on the salvage of the SS Normandie (USS Lafayette) here.  Frank A. Martin of Martin & Ottaway valued this vessel for the US government before the fire/capsize.

Damage Artwork (TBT)

USNS “Maumee” Bethlehem Steel, Key Highway Encounter with ice floe Antarctica, March 1976

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 »